Today is my day for the Learning to Breathe blog tour being run by Simon & Schuster!
I am so excited for this because I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I’m so very excited to share the written piece by Janice Lynn Mather!
Let’s jump right into it!
Goodreads Rating: 3.68/5
Pages: 336 Pages
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 26th, 2018
Genre: YA and Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Amber Smith and Sara Zarr.
Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—to study hard in school, be respectful, and to never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially while living in her mother’s shadow.
When Indy is sent to live with distant relatives in Nassau, trouble follows her. Now she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt, who would rather throw Indy out onto the street than see the truth.
Completely broke with only a hand-me-down pregnancy book as a resource, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home. After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if perhaps she’s found the place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with.
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I’d like to start this review by stating that there is a trigger warning for non-consensual sex, so if that would be triggering for you I would recommend skipping this novel!
I received an email from Simon & Schuster regarding this blog tour and I went into this novel not knowing anything about it. That being said, this novel was really easy for me to fall into.
This novel was definitely different from most novels that I read. I’m more of a fun fantasy/sci-fi reader and most of the novels that I read don’t concepts like this one did.
Reading this novel was an experience that brought a lot of emotions out of me. It was incredibly heartbreaking and frustrating to see how our main character Indy was being treated by everyone surrounding her. Indy was such a strong character and you definitely saw that through how she held herself despite all the people trying to break her.
This novel was something that I personally haven’t given much thought to throughout my life. It follows a young woman who becomes pregnant and that has to decide whether or not she should keep the child. Of course Indy has a lot of self conflict because she wants to keep this child and raise it as her own, but she doesn’t have the resources and money to do so. I have always had a very easy life, my parents supported me throughout all of my studies and have provided me with so many resources. I am extremely lucky to have had this for myself, and due to my life not having issues like Indy, I have never found myself thinking of the things Indy had to think about.
The injustice in this novel is probably one of the things that brought out the most emotion from me. I just felt so angry and frustrated that despite Indy was essentially raped and became pregnant from that act, she has to take the full blame for what occurred. She is thought to be disgusting and irresponsible, yet it was not her decision to have sex and have a child. On top of that, she had to take full responsibility and grow up quicker than she should have because she has no support system!
Despite all of the frustrating aspects of this novel, we also got to witness an amazing friendship and romance throughout this novel. It was the light at the end of the tunnel and definitely made you see that despite all the horrendous things that may happen in life, there is still a possibility of happiness.
All in all, this novel was heartbreaking, raw and brings out so many emotions. I definitely think that if you’re looking for a read that will make you consider the opposite side of life you may not have considered before. If you’re a fan of gritty, thought provoking contemporary novels as opposed to sweet, idealistic ones, then you definitely need to pick this novel up!
Author’s Written Piece
TOPIC: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I’m lucky to have a lot of amazing aspiring authors in my life, so this is a great question. Basically, be courageous. Do the things you know have to be done. The most important thing is to actually write. I think many of us carry stories around with us, stories we long to tell, stories we long to let out into the world. Sit down and actually write those stories. Carrying around unwritten stories is an uncomfortable, bloated, constipated feeling. Get them out. I also think creativity is key to health. It’s cleansing, it’s cathartic, it’s therapeutic. When there’s a story you feel motivated to write, there’s a reason it’s come to you. You need to deal with that reason, for yourself if for no one else.
Once you’ve written that story, get it out into the world. One of the hardest things I’ve found about writing, by far, is the submission process. If you’re an aspiring author, chances are you’ve heard about rejection letters. The rumours are true. You will get rejected, at some point in time. That’s to be expected, but still give it a shot. I was terrified to send out my first few queries to literary agents and editors. After half a dozen or so, it set in that the worst that would happen would be a polite (if sometimes sterile) rejection letter, or no response at all.
I started sending Learning to Breathe out in 2008. I found my amazing agent, Rachel Letofsky, in 2015, and signed on with my equally amazing editor, Catherine Laudone, in 2016. During that long process of finding a publishing home for this novel, I can honestly say that not one publishing industry professional sent me a virtual snort or a series of lols. No one told me I sucked, and no one crushed my soul. I won’t say my feelings were never hurt by some constructive (and sometimes accurate) criticism received in a rejection. They were. I may have cried on occasion (I did). I may have sulked for several weeks (definitely happened). I may have laughed once (when I got a rejection for Learning to Breathe three years after my initial query…honestly not sure why they bothered responding at that point, but kudos for eventual follow-up, I guess). Throughout the process, I was never scarred, shamed, or humiliated. I submitted my work, I lived through the rejection process, I eventually found a great agent and editor who understand, respect, and support my writing. It’s entirely worth it.
Alright everyone! That concludes my blog tour post for Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather! I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this ARC and including me in this blog tour, I had a lot of fun reading the novel!
Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to follow my blog as well as my other social media sites linked in the sidebar!
Until next time,