Friday, April 17, 2009

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Title: Breathing
Author: Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Publisher: Penguin
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Publication Date: April 16, 2009
Pages: 272
My Edition: ARC
Amazon Page

Rating: B
Plot - 15/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 17/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 86/100

Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town working at the library and lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.

Breathing is a story of first love. The love in this novel was realistic and heartwarming. Breathing is a true novel full of laughter, heartache, sadness, and love.

Cheryl Renee Herbsman is a talented new author to welcome to the YA community. Her writing style is different and something that makes her stand out. Herbsman uses a southern dialect that makes a truly fun read.

But I must point out something that Em at Em's Bookshelf said in her review for Breathing. Savannah, the main character, is supposed to be academically advanced. So why does she talk with improper grammar? That part really confused me on this. Is it because it's how everyone talks in the South, or is it just for affect? I don't know. So that was probably the one and only thing that irked me about the novel. That and it was a bit boring when Savannah was moping around after Jackson left. But that didn't stop me!

The supporting characters of this novel was a blast to know. Dog, Jackson, Mama, all of them were fantastic supporting characters. They were fun and very alive in the pages. The vibrant characters of all made this novel what it is.

The plot wasn't much. There was very little happening besides the love swooning around. A few others things of course, but not much. On most novels it wouldn't of really worked, but I think since this novel is such a hardcore romance, and there was nothing but romance, it worked well enough.

In total, this novel was full of spunk, heart and witty style. Herbsman brought a smile to my face and kept it there. With her intelluctual words from the heart she made this novel not one to miss out on when it releases next Thursday. Herbsman is one to watch and I can't wait to see what she brings to the table the next time around.


  1. Awesome review! I totally want to read this now!

  2. You made me want to read this one more than I wanted before!
    Great review.

  3. This one is already on my wish list...thanks for the review, can't wait to read it!

  4. I'm reading this book right now, so far I'm really liking it. With Savannah's grammar, I think it's just because that's how everyone talks in her area.


  5. Not into the whole first love plot but great review!

  6. Hi Kelsey,

    Thank you so much for that review!

    I hope you don't mind me answering your question. Here's why I included the dialect for Savannah: People have a tendency to talk like those around them, particularly their parents and friends. Savannah grew up with the dialect around her. But she does speak more properly when talking to the librarian or teachers. She knows how to use proper grammar, but usually doesn't bother with it in conversation.

    The main thing I wanted to get across was the idea that just because someone speaks in dialect does not necessarily mean that they are not smart.

    I think we all tend to think that certain dialects are associated with ignorance. But in reality, I think it's kind of a stereotype. And I wanted to shake that up a little.

    So that's why it's there :) Thanks for bringing this up, and again, hope you don't mind me responding!

    All best,

  7. I have not read Breathing but I do concur with the notion that dialect does not equal lack of intelligence. People (all people) who speak in a distinctive dialect should have the ability to "code-switch", i.e. switch to academic language or more formal language. This would be esp. important when, for example, interviewing for a job. :)
    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Courage in Patience (yes, it has examples of dialect in it-- Southern/Texan, Ebonics, Latino, and Academic too...)
    Ch. 1 is online!


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