A Breath Too Late
Author: Rocky Callen
Published: April 28, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 2-9, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
For fans of Girl in Pieces, All the Bright Places, and Girl, Interrupted comes a haunting and breathtaking YA contemporary debut novel that packs a powerful message: hope can be found in the darkness.
Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.
But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There’s her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. Told in epistolary-like style, this deeply moving novel sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places.
A Breath Too Late begins with a trigger warning dealing with physical abuse, suicide, and depression. And it fully deals with these issues. After the trigger warning there is an author’s note and the novel ends with ways to reach out for help. Yes, when you read A Breath Too Late, you are in for a full-on emotional story with Ellie. This novel does not deal with a happy ending, and has a tragic story, but the reader is actually left with hope.
The novel is written in letters from Ellie to her mother, father, a very important boy, life, depression, and more. It is too late for Ellie, but it might not be for potential readers who Callen wrote this novel for: For those who have kept their pain and emotions a secret to all.
As the novel progresses, things become clear to Ellie that she could not see through her painful life. Through death, she did find peace as she saw how the two most important people to her actually felt about her.
This novel will bring so many thoughts and emotions to those who read it. It is a powerful one that I will stick on my shelf next to Just a Normal Tuesday, which also deals with suicide and greatly affected me. At the end of the novel the author gives contact information for those that may need some kind of assistance.
I read this book as a part of #Diverseathon and for October the prompt is a main character who lives/lived with abuse. October’s Host is Yami @ A Bookworm’s Thoughts. She is hosting at Facebook and Instagram and having a giveaway!