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Learning to Breathe

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Rating details
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Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When you know a storm's coming, you can batten down and hide away, or you can try to outrun the rain. Or there's option three: stand your ground, face the weather, and hope your roots keep you in place.

How refreshing it is to dive into a book directed at Teens and YA that isn't a dystopian, a fairy retelling, and/or a teen romance where someone is going to die. Don't get me wrong, I lap those types of books up like they're chocolate, but every once and awhile I like something that is not any
Rachel Strolle
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

TW: discussion of sexual assault; rape
It took me a while to get into the flow of this one, but about mid-way through, all I wanted was a happy ending for Indy. Her happy ending, whichever way that would go.

This is a hard read about family, secrets, and assault.
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-2018


I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

I went in with knowing extremely little about Learning To Breathe because it was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher and actually, it worked in my favor. Because I didn't know much about it except for the fact it's about a young girl who is trying her best to hide an unwanted pregnancy and dealing with society judging her, I enjoyed it more. The story was intense a lot of the times. A trigger warning for
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 0-reviewed, 2018
I can never tell her about him, what he did. We're so different and the words from my world don't translate anymore.

Thank youuu to Netgalley & Indigo for the ARC.

I'm kinda...hunting for the right words here. This wasn't a bad book by any means but I had the bare minimum passion for it the entire time. The words are beautiful, the meaning and payoff are satisfying, the little town is homey and comfortable. And yet it didn't really have any bite or charisma. It's a dreamy, lofty little read.
Navina Lotay
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Trigger warning: Sexual Assault

16 year old Indy has become pregnant, and is hiding it because of her young age and her fear that her aunt will kick her out. This novel is a story about how she deals with all of this, finds her real family, and heals herself. While the premise and plot are great, I wasn't feeling fully engaged with this one. There was nothing that made me particularly drawn to any characters or the plot, and that's why I'm giving it 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance
Liza Wiemer
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learning to Breathe is the perfect novel for the #MeToo movement. It sucks you right into Indira's difficult life, which only becomes more challenging when her mom ships her off to her aunt's house in Nassau. The rich language and vivid description will take the reader on the painful journey Indira faces after she's rape. Despite the trials and tribulations, Indira's story is woven with beauty and respite.

This is so well done, it didn't feel like fiction. I couldn't put it down.

Highly recommen
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learning to Breathe is the debut YA novel by Janice Lynn Mather. It is a beautifully written and completely engrossing coming-of-age novel. Although it deals with some very tough and emotionally charged issues including sexual assault, Mathers treats them with sensitivity and empathy while providing a story that is unputdownable. And much of this is down to Indy, the sixteen-year-old protagonist who is strong, resilient, and most of all likable making the reader care deeply about what happens to ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
*Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.*

What a beautiful book. The writing is lyrical and gorgeous and the story is heartbreaking but also uplifting. A great contemporary read.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Indria “Indy” or “Doubles” is a strong character and her voice is powerful. Throughout the course of the book she finds her voice and it’s great to watch her come into her own. The characters are all unique and interesting and I would love more backstory on Joe, Churchy and Indy’s grandmother. I love that the author didn’t shy away from anything. She didn’t write the book with rose coloured glasses on the characters or for the reader.

#indigoemployee #netgalley #learningtobreathe
This review is also posted on!

Actually 3.5/5 stars
Content Warnings: Sexual assault, rape, slut-shaming, abortion (mention of), incest, substance abuse, emotional abuse, teen pregnancy

Learning to Breathe is a very important book, but also potentially triggering for readers. It is geared towards teens, but as you can see from the content warnings for it, there are lots of heavy moments. I am fortunate enough that I was not triggered by this book, but it was difficult
Samantha (WLABB)
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In her home village, they referred to Indy as "Doubles". They said she looked like her mother and probably shared her promiscuity as well. She thought Nassau would be a new start, a place she could escape her mother's reputation, but it seemed that trouble followed her from her home village and brought even more with it.

• Pro: Indy was so damaged by her past, and she lost her support system, when she left her grandmother for Nassau. Her fear and loneliness broke my heart, but I
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
TW: sexual assault, rape, physical and emotional abuse, substance abuse, elder abuse, incest.

This is a super difficult book for me to review. It follow Indy as her mother decides to send her to live with her aunt and uncle after not being stable enough to keep living with her. Her mother is an alcoholic and consistently sleeps with different men, but her grandmother is super understanding and her continues to support her mother as her life spirals. Upon moving in with her aunt and uncle, she sta
This book still brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it.  A truly touching story dealing with tough issues!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather. Indy comes from a dysfunctional family except for her loving grandmother who would do anything for her, but she’s not always close enough to help and doesn’t own a phone. Indy has been sexually abused and ended up pregnant and she feels alone, with no one to
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Far-flung from my typical reading genres, but I’m glad I was made to read it. The setting of Nassau and subsequent descriptions of lush landscapes and greenery, breezy, salt-water surroundings, and the rough topography of an island in general, was such a delight to read about, and more importantly something uncommon (I guess a novelty of sorts). I felt a bond with Indy and other characters, from the dialect – which felt so familiar to me, hearing their accents and pronunciation so clearly in my ...more
Eden Church | The Required Reading List
*Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault*
Janice Lynn Mather's "Learning to Breathe" took my breath away. An absolutely stunning portrait of love, loss and perseverance, the novel follows sixteen year old Indira who finds herself unexpectedly dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. This book was truly different from anything I've ever read before, and featured beautiful prose and well-drawn, complicated characters. My only qualm is that it ended too quickly, wrapping up a little too briskly.

This book cont
Dee Price
Indy's mother has a bad reputation, and she does everything she can to avoid following in her mother's footsteps. She's respectful, gets good grades, and stays away from boys. Her life changes when she is sent to live with relatives and her worst fears come to fruition. Feeling alone and betrayed, Indy has to make some tough decisions and learn how to trust again.

This is a really hard book to review because although it dealt with some very serious and realistic issues, and I am completely empath
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 out of 5

This book is a difficult, infuriating read at times. Indy is a character trapped in her circumstances and the expectations of her, the expectations that she must be a slut because her mother went down the same path that she's going down now, society's expectations that she's sexed-up because she's a black girl, even when the other characters around her are also black. Indy's fear at her circumstances drips off the page and feels very real and very claustrophobic. She feels like she
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
TW: Rape, Insesct, Abuse

Indira is sent away so that she won't follow in her mother's loose moraled footsteps, but despite being sent to Nassau to live with her aunt and uncle trouble seems to find her anyway. After being forced by her cousin Indira finds herself 5 months pregnant and unsure how to fit into her changing body and trying to keep her secret feeling ashamed of not being able to stop her cousin from raping her. Indira stumbles into a yoga retreat where the owner treats her like she is
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I would like to thank NetGalley for the copy — All opinions are my own.

I was assigned to specifically read this as a part of a national Book pick and I found myself diving into this novel with zero input. There’s been no buzz regarding this novel (which makes things even better) and from my understanding a debut (woo - support those debut authors). With that being said, I was going in with a critical yet, positive outlook.

The premise of this novel deals with Rape/Sexual Assault, Family conflic
Neelam Babul
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while you read a book which intensely affects you. It makes your heart cry out in pain, angers you and touches your soul. This is that book for me. I was deeply moved after reading Indy's story. She is just a young girl who has been sexually assaulted, is forced to face challenges without any help from those around her and transform into an adult without any support from her family. Her mother is an alcoholic who is depressed and not a good role model for her. Her grandmother is the on ...more
Ms. Nguyen
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Indy has spent her whole life trying to separate herself from her mother's reputation. When she is sent to Nassau to live with an aunt, she finds that the reputation follows her, and then, due to her circumstances, she is thrust into an awful situation. She finds a yoga retreat, and she begins to learn how to calm herself down, among other things.

This book is very important to the world of YA Lit. It's graphic, heartbreaking, sad, disgusting, and beautiful. The sexual assault that occurs is real
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
This was a rough read, both in writing style and content. There are a few disturbing and somewhat graphic rape/molestation scenes, so take care while reading. I don't know if it was solely because of this that it took me so long to fully dive into this, but for at least the first half I could not invest all the way into the story or Indy as a character. As Indy learned to breathe and finally heard more and more truth about her past, I sank into this and had a hard time putting it down. Difficult ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
*Thank you NetGalley and Indigo for the ARC*

This book has many moments that could be potentially triggering for some readers. This book is NOT for young teens, but for more mature young adults. This is not me bashing the book, this is me letting readers know what they are going to read. This is an important read, but it does include a graphic rape scene, slut-shaming, incest, emotional abuse, and alcoholism.

The writing was very well done, even though it was hard to keep reading it, I advise taki
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was given a free advance edition from NetGalley for an honest review. This was a beautiful, important and difficult read, that may not be for everyone. Indeed sexual assault survivors may have a tough time reading this novel--the assault scenes are graphic and the panic attacks Indy has are so real I found myself having to slow my own breathing with her. But, this is a vital read that will stick with readers for a long time afterward. 4.5 stars

Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, needs-review

*ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This was really good. There are sexual assaults in this story. It is a little disturbing, but seeing Indy learn to deal with her problems, finding yoga, good friends, and then her voice, makes for a good resolution.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an arc of this book through netgalley and I have purchased the hardcover version. This is a strong novel about a young girl who is struggling with assault, pregnancy, a sense of shame, and feeling unsure of who she can turn to.
Jessica Lewis
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Blog tour post (with a short author q&a) up next week.
Jan 08, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
This was a tough read, but so worth it.
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The Mary Sue Book...: Learning to Breathe 1 2 Jun 10, 2018 09:25PM  

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