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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill? Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the …


by Lurlene McDaniel

Overall Book Review:

If you are in the mood for a light, fun, frivolous read, you might want to make a different book selection.  If you are ready for something meatier and a bit painful, Breathless by Lurlene Daniel will deliver.  The book clocks in with a mere 165 pages, but those pages are rich with difficult and mature themes and three-dimensional characters.  Alternating characters and written from four, unique, first person points of view, the story follows four high school students over a two year period.  The narrative never lags and the characters envelope you.  Also, Daniels accomplishes a rare feat in literature–a somewhat undefined ending with enough information that the reader is able to satisfactorily resolve and bring closure to the story, even if he or she doesn’t agree with it.  Saturated with tough topics, but miraculously escaping a hopeless tone, it is an outstanding book club choice written with style.  Breathless will haunt you long after you put it down.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Delacorte Books

Content Analysis:

Violence included the report of a character punching another student at school; two men slapping a woman and a character intervening by punching, pushing, and kicking until the men flee—description was brief; the report of the death of a character and a brief description of how it occurred.

No profanity was noted.  A crude comment about a character’s anatomy was made.

The overall tone of the sexual content was mild, brief in description, and not a point of focus in this book.  Content noted was a following:  two characters kiss; a character thinks about his girlfriend’s anatomy/attractiveness; implied sexual activity when two characters “heat up the sheets”; one character admits to having sex as an eighth grader; implied sex between two characters (no details provided); two characters lie “skin against skin” while talking; implied prostitution by one character.

Mature Subject Matter:

Mature themes were plentiful and included the following:  moral right and wrong; situational ethics; physical and emotional child and spouse abuse; risk-taking; faith and belief in God; alcoholism; self-esteem; terminal illness and medical implications/consequences; family tension/responsibility/pressure; hope; euthanasia; suicide; foreknowledge.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Other content noted was a minor getting drunk and another character was an alcoholic.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!