Sunday, November 18, 2012
New Adult Project: "Just Remember to Breathe" by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.
Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.
When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.
Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.
The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.
This book is my first venture into indie publishing. My deciding factor in picking up this book was the PTSD element. The author, Charles Sheehan-Miles, was in the army and currently works with disabled veterans, so I trusted him to handle this topic with the necessary depth and realism.
On that front, I wasn't disappointed. Dylan's trauma, both from his experience in the army and his difficult past, manifests in several different ways throughout the story. His physical health, mental acuity, emotional stability, and interpersonal relationships are all affected. This book, while written as a love story, is equally about his journey to self-acceptance.
However, I often felt that Alex wasn't quite so well-constructed. She's a driven pre-law student who grew up in a large family that values intellectualism. What's wrong with that? The fact that I didn't learn about any of those elements until at least halfway through the story. At the beginning, her entire existence and thoughts seemed to center on men--her relationship with Dylan, and her near-rape experience. (The first half of this book would not have passed the Bechdel test.) There were several moments where she came across as clingy, a problem that might have been avoided if she appeared to value something other than "the boy who broke her heart." That's not saying she didn't have a good arc though--she also did develop a sense of personal strength, and it was refreshing to the way she put her foot down with Dylan.
There were also moments where I wondered if this book had ever been edited. For instance, Joel's name first appeared as "Josh," which made me wonder just how many guys Kelly was currently dating--not that I would have a problem with that, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't the author's intention.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes stories about romance and personal growth.
Interested in this book? Goodreads is running a giveaway here.
Disclaimer: I received a review request and my copy of the book from the author. (Thanks, Charles!)
Other New Adult Project reviews