Claudine’s life is unrecognizable. After family tragedy strikes and Claude leaves the only home she has ever known, she and her mother take the adventure of a lifetime—spending the summer on an island, away from their troubles and away from the pain back home. Both tragic and mesmerizing, Breathless is an abrupt, lyrical novel about young love and what it means to find hope in the unknown. 

Senior year: the time everyone says will be one of the most memorable years of your life. For Claude, her last moments of high school turn tragic when she discovers her father is leaving her mother. With divorce soon to come, Claude and her mom venture to Georgia, the last thing on Claude’s to-do list for the summer. No longer road tripping with her best friend, Saz, Claude is desperate to go back to her old life, broken pieces and all. But soon she discovers that the island might have more to offer and that she just might find love where she least expected—amidst one of the greatest tragedies of her life. 

Jennifer Niven delivers another compelling, heart-breaking teen romance. In her third young adult novel, Niven writes beautifully about both pain and sexuality with forceful, frank honesty. Breathless is written beautifully and authentically, a story that readers will instantly connect with.

From Claude’s relatable point of view to Niven’s daring choice to help young readers explore uncharted territory within the genre, Breathless is truly a unique story, a summer romance that is so visceral, you can practically feel the water lapping at your feet and the cool summer breezes blowing through your hair as you turn each and every beautifully rendered page. 

While different from her previous stories, Breathless feels like a story that Niven needed to share with the world. Not only a personal story for the author but also a well-needed story for young adult readers, this book helps to normalize conversations about sex and sexual exploration, specifically from the perspective of a young girl, something rarely seen. This novel is essential for young girls (and boys) who have the same burning questions as Claude and feel her same restlessness between the teen years and adult years. 

From the best-selling author of All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven returns with a Kerry Kletter-esque summer story, one that tackles difficult issues and celebrates female self-discovery. As fall begins and quarantine continues, Breathless is the perfect read to take readers back to the warmth of summer and afternoons spent on sandy beaches.

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