By: Tiffany Schmidt
Published Year: 2015
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
This cover immediately caught my eye. I then remember reading that it was a crime novel based off of fairy tales and I was sold.
What I thought
I swear that I read that this book was based off of fairy tales, especially since the series is Once Upon a Crime, but that is definitely not true. However, I did still enjoy the book and think it is a fun read.
Hold Me Like a Breath follows Penny, her family, and her Family. Penny’s family is a part of the illegal organ donation business. Her family runs six spas at which people can get paid to donate organs (or get paid to donate the organs of a deceased family member) to people who can’t afford to wait on the donor list. Penny has a blood disorder that causes her family to treat her as though she was very fragile. Her platelets attack themselves, causing her to have very low platelet counts and to therefore bruise very easily. There is, of course, drama and danger in the illegal world of underground organ donations that Penny and her family have to face.
Penny teeters on the edge of being annoyingly innocent and endearingly sheltered. There were definite moments where the illness became a little irritating, but it was a unique twist on making a character vulnerable. I think the only thing about the illness that irritated me was that she has been dealing with this for 10 years and still seemed to be in denial.
I liked that there wasn’t a clear good or bad with a lot of the story line. It wasn’t as though the Families were harvesting organs from unwilling donors and selling them for money. It brought up a really important point that an organ donor list doesn’t always work. It was and interesting perspective and I liked that even though they were “bad” guys for running an underground business, they weren’t bad guys.
I did find that the story was a bit predictable. There were a few moments that I didn’t 100% expect but wasn’t surprised when they happened, and then there were moments that I felt like I was waiting to happen and then eventually did. It took me out of the book a little bit because I felt like I wanted to tell the main characters what was happening or going to happen, but obviously I couldn’t.
The book also seemed to be very divided into two parts. The first half of the book was very different from the second half. While it made sense for the story, it still threw me off a little by how much Penny changed in such a short amount of time. In regards to the fairy tale side, there is nothing fairy-tale esque about this story. The main character mentions fairy tales and that she loves them and even makes one reference to feeling like Rapunzel, but I can’t see this book as being based off of a fairy tale. That part disappointed me a little, but not so much that it made me dislike the book.
By: Tiffany Schmidt