Monday, June 1, 2015

*Book Review* Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (YA Fantasy)

Series:  Once Upon A Crime Family
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Source: NetGalley
Format: E-Book, 400 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

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.

Hold Me Like a Breath is the first installment in the Once Upon a Crime Family series by Tiffany Schmidt. 17-year old Penelope "Penny" Landlow lives everyday with the unknown. Due her fragile state, she's been kept away from friends, and she's not allowed to attend public school for fear they might hurt her. On top of everything else, she belongs to a crime syndicate that deals in human organs.

After her parents are murdered, Penny flees the only home she's ever known, and makes her way for NYC. While there, she experiences life for the first time, ever. She learns to explore and watch the routes she takes. She learns to open up to other people, while trying to understand why her parents were murdered. She makes friends while not worrying about her Platelet count. She also gets more than a few shocking surprises.

In the story, Penny's family sells human organs to those that need them the most and can't afford the long wait or FDA approval or denial in order to get a life saving procedure done. Organ donation, legal or illegal, is a serious topic folks. Hundreds of people die each year after being rejected by the FDA for everything including disabilities, and those who are on the waiting list often times die before the necessary organ is found.

Bottom line. Too many people waiting for organs that just don't exist. If you believe in the organ donor system, YOU SHOULD sign up, it could save someone's life. While I agree that organ swapping should be illegal, I can understand why people look for an alternate route to surviving. I would never, ever blame someone for trying to live longer than what they've been told.

Let's call this Penny's personal journey to awareness where she gains strength and insight along the way. I will say that in the beginning, Penny was a bit of a naive girl who tries to break the chains keeping her bound to her castle by her parents who dotted on her and spoiled her like any other rich kid. Not unlike Rapunzel, Penny chafes to do things. She chafes to explore, and enjoy life, and perhaps go to school if her blood counts stay in an approved range. After leaving home, and exploring, and finding out secrets from two separate characters, Penny knows that she must act, and act she does.

So, you want to talk about the romance, do you? Fine. Let's. Introducing Garrett. Garrett is Penny's brother's guardian. He's her friend, and crush. He's also one who makes her heart feel something, but because of his position, they're really not allowed to be together. He tries to get Penny to run away with him, but tragedy strikes. Even though he was complacent at times, he does try to make up for his failures.

Penny later runs into a curious boy who she spends a whole lot of time with her while she's not mourning the fact that she's now an orphan. Penny and "Char" form a bond of sorts, but I dare say it's not love at first sight. In fact, once everything becomes clear who "Char" really is, then you know these two have met before. I can see a girl like Penny falling for Char. Why not? He's the only one who doesn't treat her as though she's going to break if he touches her. He's the only one, minus her brother, who isn't afraid to take her places. He's one of the few people she's met that actually let's her live, and not put her in a box.

One needs to ask questions, lots of questions while reading this story. I need to know if Penny is going to be the lead character in the sequel, or yet another character like Garrett Ward, or Maggie Vickers (who we meet briefly), or Ming Zhu. This question is pertinent if readers are expected to continue with this series. I also think that people who have attempted to read this novel, but gave up early, perhaps should try again. How can you actually formulate a review unless you truly understand the characters involved?

Let's talk about Penny's condition. I can't imagine living with ITP. Can you after reading this? Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood. (A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood).

ITP is sometimes called immune thrombocytopenic purpura or simply, immune thrombocytopenia. ITP occurs when certain immune system cells produce antibodies against platelets. Platelets help your blood clot by clumping together to plug small holes in damaged blood vessels. The antibodies attach to the platelets. The spleen destroys the platelets that carry the antibodies.

**I received this book for free from (Bloomsbury USA Children's) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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