The Breathless

The Breathless Tara Goedjen .jpg

The Breathless

Tara Goedjen

Delacorte Press. Oct. 2017, 354 pp., $17.99 (USD)

Death, Secrets

ISBN 9781524714765

Ages 12 and up


Although it’s been nearly a year since her older sister, Ro, died, Mae continues to be overwhelmed with grief. In the wake of her sister’s death, her family and Blue Gate, the historic southern mansion that the Cole’s have lived in for more than a century, have deteriorated as the mystery of Ro’s death goes unsolved. One night Mae finds half of a mysterious book is scribblings and rituals that she knows belonged to Ro. Around the same time, Ro’s boyfriend Cage shows up at Blue Gate, bruised and disoriented. He’s been gone for a year and has no recollection of where he’s been or knowledge that Ro is dead. As Mae and Cage each use the book to keep Ro’s memory alive and solve the mystery of her death, they unearth family secrets that may have played a part in Ro’s sudden death. Told in alternating chapters between Mae and Cage’s present perspectives as well as interludes from Blue Gate’s nineteenth-century past, The Breathless is a dark, atmospheric and intricately woven tale about sisters, history, family and resurrection magic. While the novel is plagued by tense issues, slow pacing, and many unfinished plot lines, it’s nonetheless an enchanting tale that will charm young readers who love southern gothic, thriller, magic and suspense stories.


Taylor Tracy

Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

New York, NY