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I Belong

Early Review: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

Hold Me Like a BreathTitle: Hold Me Like A Breath

Author: Tiffany Schmidt

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: Once Upon a Crime Family (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 080273782X (Bloomsbury Children)

ISBN-13: 978-0802737823 (Bloomsbury Children)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Quick & Dirty: Amazing, intense story that you won’t want to put down. With its unique idea, intriguing plot, and wonderful characters this is sure to be a hit with all young adult fans! Also, this book has one of my favorite covers ever — it is so pretty!

Opening Sentence: Once upon a time— nine years ago, to be exact— I didn’t know anything about the Family Business.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Penelope Landlow has grown up in a very privileged environment. Her family is extremely wealthy, but they don’t get their money legally. They sell human organs to those that need them and can afford to pay for them. Rest assured they are actually good people and they do it more to help people then for the money, but it is still illegal. But even all the money in the world can’t cure the autoimmune disease that Penelope has. It causes her blood palettes to run way lower than they should and therefore she bruises very easily. Her disease can be very dangerous, so she is basically homebound at all times.

Penelope would love to be a normal girl, but that’s just not in her cards. Sure she loves her family and she knows that they would do anything to protect her but she wants more out of life then just being a princess stuck in a mansion. What Penelope doesn’t know is that she is about to get her wish of freedom, but what will be the price?

Penelope is such an inspirational character. She has a terrible disease that makes it so she bruises very easily and her blood has a hard time clotting.  It’s scary and at any time it could become very deadly. But Penelope has such a positive outlook on life that you would never know she is so ill. Yes, she is cautious and she should be, but at the same time she likes to be spontaneous. Sure she fantasies about living a normal teenage life, but she is also happy with the life she has. She is determined to not let her disease be who she is, and I really respected that about her. She was a very easy character to connect with and with everything she goes through I couldn’t help but respect her. I loved reading her story and I am so happy that there will be more books to come.

There are two love interests in the story, but the romances felt very separate from each other so while reading the story it didn’t really feel like a love triangle to me. I do think that in the future books there is a possibility that the love triangle could become more forefront, but it wasn’t in this one.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Garrett. He is loyal, kind, and fiercely protective of Penelope. His family has protected the Landlow family for years so it’s no surprise that is what he wants to do as well. His best friend growing up was Carter Landlow and they are more like brothers then friends.  His relationship with Penelope has been strictly friendly all these years, but they have an undeniable chemistry. I loved watching them flirt and I thought they were so cute together. Garrett is far from perfect, but if I had to choose a team I would chose him!

Char comes along quite a bit later in the story and while I did really like him, I didn’t quite fall for him as much as I did for Garrett. Char is ridiculously smart and a total nerd, which was really cute. He is awkward and unsure of himself when it comes to Penelope, but that added to his overall charm. The relationship between him and Penelope was cute. It just felt a little rushed to me. Unfortunately, it had a insta-love feel to it and I didn’t love that, but I do think that things could be much different in the next book. I adore Char, I just don’t know if I would pick him for Penelope.

Hold Me Like a Breath is a beautifully heart pounding story that is almost impossible to put down. The idea is very unique and different from anything else I have ever read, so that was a huge plus. The pacing was spot on and the plot took me places I was never expecting to go. There is a mystery in the story that I did figure out, but it wasn’t obvious or overdone in anyway. There was just enough foreshadowing that made it so you didn’t feel lost or confused as to what was going on. The characters were all developed perfectly and I loved how three dimensional they all felt. While reading the story I could easily imagine myself in the moment with all the characters and I really loved that. Schmidt’s writing is beautiful and easy to get lost in. This is the first book I have read by her, but rest assured I now want to go back and read everything else she has written. The ending of this book wrapped up things pretty well, so I am really curious to see where things go in the sequel. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a unique young adult contemporary novel.

Notable Scene:

“I believe you swept me off my feet, actually.”

“Semantics.” He smiled. “I know I’m going to fall in love a million times in my life.” I was too surprised to form the word “what?” or remember how to exhale. “Maybe more than a million . . . but it will always be with you.”

Once Upon a Crime Family Series:

1. Hold Me Like A Breath (May 19, 2015)


FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury Children provided me with a copy of Hold Me Like a Breath.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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