Saturday, December 19, 2009
Cheryl Renee Herbsman's novel Breathing was a wonderful, entertaining young adult novel...including some Southern charm and a bit of happiness.
Savannah (named for Savannah, Georgia) suffers from asthma, a condition her mother told her she developed when her father walked out on their family. Savannah, her mother, and brother Dogwood (Dog for short) live in North Carolina, scraping by to make ends meet as Savannah's health problems create a financial burden that is too overwhelming to a single mother who keeps losing her job whenever Savannah has to be hospitalized and she has to miss work to care for her.
Savannah is an interesting character...she seems sort of naive, yet is extremely smart, working at the library as a part time job. When she meets a boy, Jackson (yes, he is named for a city, too) the two are instantly interested in each other and begin a relationship. Despite the grown-ups around them who believe that their relationship is a passing thing since both are so young, the two remain connected to each other, even when separated by distance. Savannah begins to believe she needs Jackson around to breathe. Both yearn for the other to achieve their dreams and it is Jackson who convinces Savannah that she can learn to breathe on her own.
The writing in this book is so full of Southern charm - I loved that about it. I also loved how wonderful Savannah and Jackson's relationship was. I wonder if it is believable - I certainly didn't know of any relationships like that from my teenage years, but what an example of true love for teen readers.
I look forward to reading any of Herbsman's future work. A great YA novel.