By Holly Seddon
Published by Atlantic Books (Paperback - 14 July 2016)
Just remember to breathe. Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she's cut herself off from everything but her one true love - drink. Until she's forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy. Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She's as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands. Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma...
Try Not to Breathe is yet another book that I devoured in just a few sittings. It's an intense, beautifully written psychological thriller. It's very different from the usual trends of missing children/teenagers or unreliable narrators. It was like a breath of fresh air. It's so cleverly plotted.
Alex is a freelance journalist whose life is governed by alcohol. Due to her addiction, her marriage has crumbled, her ex-husband is now with another woman and she's lost her job. She's given a commission to write an article about a doctor who is working with coma patients - this is her chance to get her life back on track. When Alex visits the ward, she becomes intrigued by the story of Amy, a young woman who was left for dead following a brutal attack 15 years earlier. Amy's attacker has never been found. Alex is determined to discover Amy's story by delving into her past.
I was particularly intrigued by the medical background, and the author has clearly done her research into coma patients. In Try Not to Breathe, patients lying in a persistent vegetative state don't appear to interact with the outside world, but some doctors believe that some of them are still able to communicate - it's a case of discovering how.
Try Not to Breathe is a fantastic debut novel that keeps the reader guessing. I've had this book sitting on my Kindle for several months, and I'm now kicking myself as I should have read it sooner.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.