Thursday, 23 May 2019

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan


*This book was gifted to me by the publisher, with no expectation of a review*
Published by Little Island on May 9th 2019

I honestly didn't know anything about this book until it landed on my doormat. I hadn't planned to read to it, but something about the cover really caught my attention. On glancing through it, I realised it was all written in verse. I love a novel written in verse! I honestly don't think there are enough of them available. 
I turned to the first page, to get  a feel for the story and two hours later, I'd read the whole book. Saying this book was beautiful, doesn't actually do it justice. Pardon the pun, but it was simply breathtaking. 
The poetic nature of the novel, allows the story to flow contentedly for a while, until the tension builds creating a sense of swimming through rocky rapids, as eleven year old, Stevie, comes to terms with her sexuality. You may feel this is a little young to be dealing with such a subject, but I can tell you right now, eleven years olds are much more grown up these days than you think. 
Stevie has started secondary school and is trying to come to terms with what she is feeling for Chloe, who she sits next to in class. She thinks that she should like boys, but realises she doesn't have the same feelings for her friend Robert, as she does for Chloe. Stevie is convinced that something is wrong with her - how can she have feelings for a girl. She desperately searches for the answers online before looking elsewhere. Stevie is too frightened to talk to her mum about it, because she is convinced it will make her worry. 
I was charmed by Stevie. I think the author has authentically captured the voice of an eleven year old, who is coming to terms with all the feelings that being a teenager can evoke. Stevie has an innocence to her voice, which makes this story even more endearing. 
The sea features quite heavily in the book - Stevie explores the deepest, darkest oceans through books, while on a personal level, she finds herself sinking deeper and deeper into an emotional whirlpool, that she's struggling to swim out of. 
This is one of the best coming of age books I've read in a long time. I feel this book should be on every Year 6 /Year 7 reading list. I really don't think we should underestimate how young, children are thinking about their sexuality. This book allows a child to have an opening to a subject, they might be too frightened to talk about. 
The Deepest Breath handles a difficult discussion topic, with innocence and delicacy. 

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