It’s been way too long since I last sat down and read a book cover to cover. Picking it up and actually dedicating time to reading just doesn’t seem within my remit at the moment (which is really shameful, I know!).
When I was ordering Christmas presents, I ended up needing to spend a few extra pounds to reach free delivery, so I took the opportunity to search for some decent books and picked something out that I thought would be gripping. I chose a thriller book (my favourite genre by far, especially if it’s a crime thriller!) – Try Not To Breathe, by Holly Seddon.
I have to say, it’s not been utterly unputdownable, though I do associate a lot of this with my busy schedule over the Christmas holidays as well as the fact that I seemed to be half asleep each time I got round to picking it up. However, I do think it’s a pretty decent book. The story line is really intriguing, I love when I’m constantly trying to figure out who did what and how people are connected.
To give a brief summary without spoilers, Try Not To Breathe is about a girl who is attacked and in a ‘vegetative state’ (this is contested by doctors in the book!). A freelance journalist, Alex, kind of stumbles across her story and decides to write about it, which soon translates to investigating the cold case. There are other parts about Alex in particular, such as the fact that she’s an alcoholic (reminds me of Girl On The Train a little), it doesn’t take long before you’re invested in Alex’s well-being and sympathetic about her addiction.
There are a number of characters in the book that make me want to scream, ‘JUST TELL THE TRUTH!’ – it’s infuriating at times but I realised as the story went on that it was important in some ways.
In terms of quality of writing, I think the book is ok. There are clunky sentences and kind of repetitive bits of text throughout, but it’s the kind of thing you’d ignore if you were totally invested in the novel. As I got further into it, I definitely felt myself becoming more invested, gradually reading bigger sections each time I picked it up. I even found myself thinking about it or relating it to my real life somehow, which I usually think is a good sign – a book that doesn’t just sit in a separate world to yours can’t have affected you in the way it should, right?
Overall, I would recommend others to read the book, but with an open mind and expectation that it might disappoint at the end. The resolution is over in about 5 pages, which always feels a bit rushed and a cop-out, as if the whole reason I’ve gotten so far into the book is just to find out who did what…that’s important, don’t get me wrong, but I’d have liked to know more about why they did it etc etc, it really did feel like a ‘here is the ending, see ya’ kind of thing! But it was good, in the sense that I had a few theories as to who was at fault and while one of them was right, the fact I hadn’t just guessed it outright was something.
I remember once, in a story I’d written, there was a really cheesy sentence. I wrote a very expositional sentence afterwards to justify the cheese and my tutor had said to me – explaining it does not make it ok! That’s how I felt about some of the details at the end of the book. Without trying to give too much away, it was like, oh this character was a bit stupid in the way they did this, but I’ve said they were a bit stupid so therefore I will let them carry on being a bit stupid. I didn’t think it made a huge bit of difference to the story either, it was just an attempt at curve-balling – which failed.
Another frustrating element was that the blurb suggested that Alex (the journalist) was going to end up in the same danger that Amy (the comatose girl) was in… when really, no, she wasn’t. Not at all. Which was a bit frustrating!
I’d give the book a 7/10. If you’re interested, you can pick it up here!