I’m really enjoying my new work life as a social media manager, but one of the things I miss most about being an agent is working with insanely talented writers as they go through the process of writing a great novel.
Try Not to Breathe, a YA novel by my former client Jennifer R. Hubbard, is one of the last books I worked on before leaving agenting for the fair pastures of the tech world, and I feel utterly privileged to have had a front row seat.
Just as in her debut The Secret Year, which starts just after the protagonist’s secret love dies, Try Not to Breathe picks up in the aftermath of a catastrophic event: the main character attempted suicide before the novel begins. TNTB is about his attempt to navigate a murky new world of watchful stares, fraught relationships, and the first stirrings of not just a new normal but reasons for hope.
One of those relationships involves a girl who is dealing with darkness in her own past, and the way they come together is poignant and incredibly real.
I can’t speak for Jenn, but I feel like as agent/author we were really synced up in a great way as we worked together on some of the early revisions, right down to brainstorming about to the title: I had suggested an REM lyric, “The Night is Yours Alone,” (from “Everybody Hurts“) and she countered with another REM song from the same album: “Try Not to Breathe,” which is the absolute perfect title for this book.
Try Not to Breathe will be published by Viking one month from today – January 12th.
And today I am thrilled to offer a signed ARC to a lucky commenter! If you’d like to enter, leave a comment on this post between now and Tuesday evening at 9pm PT. This giveaway is limited to those in the US and Canada, and you must be over 13. And please only enter once.
Update: Publishers Weekly has given Try Not To Breathe an amazing starred review!! An excerpt: “Hubbard is outstandingly successful at capturing the frustration of not having the words, especially in a culture that does not encourage boys to express what Ryan is feeling.”
Sounds seriously good. Now I'll have to go back and read The Secret Year for sure. Thanks for the contest!
Desmond Hall says
It would be dope if I won this.
I want it!
I'd love to read this!
jpetroroy at gmail dot com
My Secret Year kept me reading from cover to cover! What good news that her next book is almost here.
amber polo says
I must read this book. My license plate is "Breathe."
Would love to receive a signed ARC of this book! Thank you so much.
Sounds like a great book to read this winter!
Ann Snizek says
Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me! I'm the one with her hand up really, really high… see me? Look harder. Here, I'll wave. 😀
The Secret Year was wonderful! I can't wait to read this (:
So, so excited to read this!
Jen P says
ARC on offer, boy
sighs loudly, tries not to breathe.
Lands on doorstep. Wow!
This sounds like a truly amazing book, especially for those who've been touched by suicide within the family like I have (ironically, a male cousin). I never understood why he did it and it still haunts me after all these years. Maybe a book like this could help me to put it into perspective,
Jennifer R. Hubbard says
I just want to thank everyone for the kind comments and wish you all good luck!
And yes, Nathan's work on this book demonstrated how a good editorial agent operates: suggesting and guiding without ever stepping on the writer's voice.
Sounds amazing! I've got to get the first one from the library.
Kissed by Ink says
Wow! Not only would I love to read Try Not to Breathe, but now I am going to go out and get The Secret Year. Sounds like an author that I definitely want to follow!
Nathan, are there any copyright considerations involved with using a song lyric as book title?
Anne Pisacano says
Fantastic! I know January 12th is right around the corner, but I can't wait for this book. Pick me! Pick me!
Maria Barrios says
Please enter me! Sounds like such a great book. Also, Thank you for the giveaway! And as always Happy Holidays.