We’re participating in the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop and, for this fun book hop, we’re featuring Try Not Breathe by Holly Seddon. The thing that interested me about this thriller is the question of what people in a coma do or don’t comprehend of their surroundings. For me that question is personal since I was in a coma in my late 20’s. Upon awakening, I didn’t remember anything that happened while I was out. I did wonder why my whole family was sitting by my bed looking so concerned, when they didn’t live in the same city. I had no idea how long I’d been out or what was wrong.
This story is very different, since the girl in a coma has been severely traumatized. It’s really the story of two women, one in a coma and one who really needs to wake up to what’s going on in her life. It’s a riveting tale and one of you is going to win a copy in our giveaway, so be sure to enter!
Amy Stevenson was just like every other fifteen-year-old girl until one day she wasn’t. When she was found, she was about as near death as you can get and still be considered alive. She didn’t know that because she was not conscious of anything. That was fifteen years ago. She’s been lying in a coma ever since that fateful day when she was attacked. She’s on a ward with other people like her, people lost to the world – people alone with no one who can bear to visit them anymore, no one but medical staff whose job it is to care for them. What none of the staff or doctors realize though is that Amy is still there – she’s lost inside of her body with no way to communicate.
“’I shouldn’t have done this. You won’t be able to help me now,’ she [Amy] started to sob again.
‘You’re overthinking this.’
Sniffing, she scrunched her eyes as tight as she could. These could be her last hours before the shit hit the fan and she wanted to sink into the darkness of them as much as she could. What would the others say when they heard? Everything was about to change. No one would keep her secrets for her.
She should never have got into the car. She should never have gone there and she should never have had sex with him. So many things she shouldn’t have done in such a short space of time.
Amy opened her eyes and saw the dull brick outskirts of Edenbridge falling away. ‘Where are we going? I need to get home.’
‘Somewhere nice, you’ll like it.’
‘I have to go home though – please can you just turn the car around?’
‘That would spoil the surprise.’…
‘I’m sorry,’ she said, turning to face him but unable to make eye contact. ‘I don’t want to spoil whatever the surprise is, but I really have to get home. You can just leave me here if you have to, I can walk.’
‘I can’t do that, Amy,’ he said, and turned to flash her the briefest of smiles.”
Alex Dale is also lost. In fact she could count on the fingers of both hands the ways that she’s lost if she were conscious of them. You see, Alex has behavior patterns that have wrecked her life; namely she can’t quit drinking even though it may kill her. Among the many things she’s lost are her marriage and her career, and then there’s her health which she doesn’t want to even think about. She was a happily married woman but she isn’t anymore. She was a successful writer and journalist but now no one will return her calls. She’s very regimented in her diet and her exercise as a way to try to keep the demons at bay. It doesn’t work but she hasn’t realized that yet. She thinks if she can just get absolute control over every aspect of her life then no one will know how messed up her life really is. She’s wrong.
As Alex searches for a story she can sell to a publication, she stumbles across Amy. She recalled that Amy made huge headlines when she was found but, like most cold cases, hers dropped off the headlines as soon as the next OMG story surfaced. Amy was one of those America’s Sweetheart kind of girls that everyone in her town loved. No one ever discovered what had happened to her and, as far as Alex can tell, no publication has followed up on Amy’s case in a long time. There might be an angle there that Alex can use to get a story published and, at the same time, find out what became of Amy.
“She’d burned all her bridges with his police friends. She [Alex] tried to tell herself that was why she was calling him.
‘Well, it’s an interesting one. Her [Amy’s] attacker has never been caught, the step-dad was taken in and released, the mum died soon after…This girl has just been stuck in this state for fifteen years, while everyone else has moved on around her. I know it would make a great story, and I know that cold cases are notoriously hard to solve, not that I’m trying to crack the case, but I wanted to see what I could do, see if I could find any new angles to write about.’ Alex drew a long breath.
‘But where do I fit in?’ Matt asked, a slight disquiet in his voice.
‘Well, I’ve got some newspaper clippings from the time but it would be really good to know things from a police perspective. The lead detective on the case has left the force and I can’t find her anywhere. I wondered if you could look up the case for me, see if there’s any information that might be useful? Any suspects they didn’t track down or – ‘
‘Christ, Alex! You’re asking me to pass you confidential documents. I’m a detective! I’d get myself sacked, or worse…’”
After talking to Amy’s doctor and talking her way onto the ward to see Amy, Alex is puzzled. The staff talk like there’s nobody home inside Amy but Alex can sense how uneasy and restless Amy is. It doesn’t make sense. She thinks at first that she’s imagining it but she’s certain Amy’s in there somewhere, even though she’s been told it’s unlikely. Maybe Alex just recognizes a kindred spirit without realizing it but, for whatever reason, she’s becomes determined to find out what really happened to Amy and to try to find some way to reach her. Suddenly this isn’t about a story but about rescuing this forgotten young woman – or at least seeing that justice is served for her. But how do you solve a crime when the only witness has been in a coma for fifteen years?
Try Not To Breathe is told in layers of past and present, alternating between Amy’s story and Alex’ story – and that works beautifully to not just build suspense in this thriller but to demonstrate how someone can be conscious and still be in a coma, and how difficult it is to awaken from either situation. Alex is not the most sympathetic character at first because, well, people addicted to alcohol aren’t easy to relate to. Getting involved in Amy’s case is a watershed moment for her though.
I was fascinated by the thriller aspects of this novel, which are quite suspenseful. I was also fascinated by the contrast in personalities between these two women, who are about the same age. Could Alex save herself by saving Amy? Could anything or anyone reach Amy? Could anything save either one of them? This is a spell-binding novel that I literally could not put down, and I’m thrilled to be able to host a giveaway for it!
Can’t wait to read it? Try Not To Breathe is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller. Click the link below and you can have it to read asap!
I’d love to get your comments on Try Not To Breathe, Holly Seddon, and/or this review.
One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of Try Not To Breath by Holly Seddon!
1) The deadline for entries is Monday night, 3/7/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
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6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 3-4 weeks for book delivery.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
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