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by Lurlene McDaniel

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This moving and charged novel by Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of inspirational fiction for young adults, presents ethical as well as moral dilemmas and explores the harsh reality of making a choice that, once made, can never be undone.
Travis Morrison knows how good his life is. He’s a champion diver and one of the most popular


This moving and charged novel by Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of inspirational fiction for young adults, presents ethical as well as moral dilemmas and explores the harsh reality of making a choice that, once made, can never be undone.
Travis Morrison knows how good his life is. He’s a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. He has Darla, the girl he loves; Emily, his kid sister, whom he actually doesn’t mind hanging out with; and Cooper, his best friend.
On the first day of summer vacation, all four go boating on the lake, and everything feels perfect. They cut the motor and drift toward their favorite spot, where cliffs abound—nature at its finest. Travis’s friends ask him not to try the diving stunt, but he can’t resist a challenge.

Travis’s silly stunt dive goes wrong, and he fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals devastating news. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.

Travis understands that his parents believe they’re doing what’s best for him. But he’s always been sure of himself, and he’s sure of one thing now—that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. How will he convince the three people he feels he can count on most to help him? And when things get even worse, who will fulfill his most important request?

In this honest and probing novel, Lurlene McDaniel tackles a controversial subject, sensitively exploring the issues of personal choice and quality of life, and poignantly reminding readers that every individual deserves to be treated with dignity.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Travis Morrison is a high school athlete on the rise. He is an excellent diver, and his whole high school team is counting on him to help them win the state championship next year. Travis is looking forward to the competition too; in the meantime, though, he plans on enjoying summer. He loves being in the water and often wonders if he is part fish. On the first day of summer vacation, he goes out to the lake with his girlfriend Darla, his best friend Cooper, and his kid sister Emily. It is a beautiful day, and the water is perfect. Travis decides to do a diving stunt because he cannot stand being near water and not diving. His friends and sister do not think it is a good idea, but Travis is fearless. When he takes the dive, something goes very wrong. In an instant, Travis's life changes forever. This is the story of a young man, his friends and his parents doing everything they think is right in a very difficult situation, dealing with horrible news, and finding themselves at odds with each other. This is a story of courage, pain, struggle, death, suicide, and victory. The story is presented in chapters told from each character's point of view. Unfortunately, although Travis's parents are referred to in the book, neither gets a first-person chapter to express their fear, frustration, and sense of loss. Their struggle about doing what they think is best for Travis can only be guessed at, although that information could have only made the book richer. Still, this is a book that does back away from the hard questions about life and death. It is a book that will tug at readers' hearts. It will render them incapable of putting it down until the last page. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Travis, a champion diver about to start his junior year of high school, is hanging out with his friends and sister on the first day of summer vacation. The cliffs over the lake call to him, and he climbs up to dive from them, only to hear his leg snap when he jumps. Still in the hospital days later, Travis finally hears the diagnosis: bone cancer. Facing amputation and chemotherapy, he knows he'll never get back to the life he had. As Travis gets sicker, his only comfort is his research into death-with-dignity and right-to-die groups, and his only hope is that his friends will help him once he can no longer help himself. The narrative rotates among four teens: Travis, his sister, his girlfriend, and his best friend. Each voice is distinct and shows a different perspective on Travis's life since his diagnosis. The ending is heavily telegraphed from the beginning (the book opens on an unnamed character who admits that "right and wrong dissolved into what I knew I had to do"), but this does not diminish the impact of the final chapters. This is a heartstrings-tugging read that retains the central character's dignity and peace in the face of insurmountable odds. A sensitive book on a delicate topic.-Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA

Kirkus Reviews
The prolific author's latest novel features her signature pull at teen readers' hearts. In the slim volume, four distinct voices describe Travis Morrison's terrible health situation. Travis is a champion high-school diver until his femur snaps while cliff diving at a rural Alabama lake. It's bone cancer. In alternating chapters, the fragile emotions of his best friend Cooper, his girlfriend Darla and little sister Emily come forth. Travis's health deteriorates after his leg is amputated and he bounces between chemo treatments and false remission over the next year and a half. But there are other story lines. Cooper's mother is an alcoholic prostitute, Darla is labeled the school slut and Emily is the kid sister in love with her brother's friend. The pages drip with angst as Travis's health fades to a point where he pressures the other teenagers to help him commit suicide. Melodramatic scenes, stock characters and stiff phrasing blemish this work. Despite-or perhaps because of-these formula-wrought flaws, McDaniel's fans, who seemingly read with tissues in hand, will snatch it off the shelves. (Fiction. YA)
Angelica Braaten
Breathless looks into the lives of four teenagers living in southern Alabama: Cooper Kulani, a half-Korean, half-Hawaiian misfit; Travis Morrison, champion diver of his high school; Emily Morrison, Travis's younger sister; and Darla Gibson, Travis's girlfriend. Cooper lived with his alcoholic mother until he was taken in by Travis's family years ago. Both Cooper and Emily have feelings for one another but never express them. Darla lives with her abusive father. The novel begins on the first day of summer vacation when the four take Travis's boat out on the lake. Travis decides to dive off the edge of a cliff into the lake and ends up in the hospital. He finds out he has bone cancer. Each chapter takes the first-person perspective of one of the four main characters. Reviewer: Angelica Braaten

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Lurlene McDaniel began writing inspirational novels about teenagers facing life-altering situations when her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. “I saw firsthand how chronic illness affects every aspect of a person’s life,” she has said. “I want kids to know that while people don’t get to choose what life gives to them, they do get to choose how they respond.”
Lurlene McDaniel’s novels are hard-hitting and realistic, but also leave readers with inspiration and hope. Her books have received acclaim from readers, teachers, parents, and reviewers. Her bestselling novels include Don’t Die, My Love; I’ll Be Seeing You; Till Death Do Us Part; Hit and Run; and Prey.

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Breathless 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 84 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book i read it in 3 hours and i cryed through the whole book but just because i cryed doesnt make it a sad book this book was...... there are almost no words to tell about this everybody has there own option some say its sad some will say its happy in the end some will say iits a mix of both but no matter u say it is it is a great book and is worth the reading it
Miminator More than 1 year ago
this book was soo emotional. there were soo many different emotions all put into this one little book.I Think Lurlene did an AMAZING job at making you think about life and situations such as these. It really makes you think about how life can completely change. And how quickly it can be over. This book had me laughing and more like balling my eyes out. i felt sad, happy, and angry within just a few pages. This book litteraly left me breathless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book I've read in awhile, the ending is amazing. I cried and cried. Wonderful.
Ariel_Sky More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best discussion books available on the highly controversial topic of euthanasia. This book tells the story about those who are in favor of it and those who are not and all those in between. Just like this book portrayed, no one really does know what he or she will do in a particular situation unless one actually finds him or herself in that situation. People can say they will or will not do something in any time and place. These same people can also be quick to judge about the actions of others when the honestly have no such right to do so. But if a person really thinks about it, no one can be 100% truly sure. After reading this book, I realized that all family members, who are old enough to understand, should have the "what-if" discussion. Such talks ahead of time, allows the opportunity for open discussions of a person's wishes and time to come to an informed conclusion. That way, should the time ever come the decision is, in essence, already made. Everyone should be able to choose their own path in life. Other people can only offer guidance. Ultimately, in the end, the path a person chooses is for him or her to decide.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first started reading this book a while ago and it didn't really catch my eye, then in class the other day we had to have a book so I took out my phone and started to read. I sat through all my classes that day and read. That same weekend I sat at home and read all Sunday, finished too. It had my eyes watering three different times. But it really got me crying when the last few chapters came up. I cried, and cried. I recommend this book to everyone who likes sad books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People eho dont likthis book are just a little wired!!!!!!I LLLLLLOOOOVVVVEEEEEDDDD this book.this was my first book tht got me started on her books.i have now been reading her books for a year now:) l love tham!!!!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thnk it impossible to say u dont love this, first time reading it is the best.
ss360 More than 1 year ago
AAAAAAMMMMAAAAZZZZIIINNNGGG!!!!! This book was definetley worth the read even though it was a bit short. It was full of emotion...i actually cried!!!I loved how it was written in each charecters different point of view!!! But its a really great book and i loved it.
Kimberly Michalik More than 1 year ago
i lovedd this book it was amazin. i really could not put this down. i reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading it fits any age group from 7th grade and up!!! read itt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It was realistic and emotional. The suspense held you all the way through the story even in the end. She did a great job telling the story using point of view and really gets her readers to think.
SilverReader More than 1 year ago
This book really gets you thinking about what your point of view on things are until your put into a specific situation. You realise what is important to you and how you would like things to go in your life.
twilighter821 More than 1 year ago
As a cancer survivor I know exactly what this charachter is thinking this book is thought provoking and fmay change your opinion on this controversial topic. It may be in the YA section but I would reccomend this book to anyone.
xXmariicanflyyXx More than 1 year ago
this book is a real page turner. im a teen so to read a book that includes a teen with a health problem he never knew about,it opens my eyes a little bit. reading this book,i found this idea come to my head : even if you seem to be the best person in the world,you're still not at risk of something devastating just because you see yourself prettier or more athletic than others. i loved this very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could relate to hpw the characters felt, my grandpa passed away because of cancer. This beautiful master peice made me cry. I recomend to people 14+.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fantastic book! Lurlene never ceases to make me cry.... but I love when books make you fell that emotionally inclined, that all you can do is cry. Lurlene rights with skill and obvious experience when it comes to tragic things, yet she makes them highly believable and real. I have read almost all of her books, and have enjoyed every single one of them! :) <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story will really touch your heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book.Ive read alot of her books they are so sad!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever. It breaks your heart in so many way but at the same time that just makes you love the book even more. Its not shy at all to talk about the serious issues they are faced with. (: <3 A Total Must Read!
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