Breathing Room

Breathing Room

by Marsha Hayles


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Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There's Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

Marsha Hayles' Breathing Room is a masterful novel—both eloquent and moving—that gives voice to those who fought hard to overcome the illness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250034113
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 496,611
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Marsha Hayles is the author of several books for young children. Breathing Room is her first novel. She lives in Pittsford, New York, with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Breathing Room



(May 1940)


FATHER JERKED THE CAR to the side of the road and stopped. "Are you okay, Evvy?" he asked, turning in his seat to look at me.

I pitched my head back, gasping for air between coughs. Breathe! a voice inside me screamed. I dropped the Loon Lake brochure. A blast of heavy, moist air shot up from my lungs and exploded into the handkerchief I'd grabbed and pressed against my lips.

But I could breathe again. "I'm okay, Father," I said, though my voice crackled as if it had just been hatched and never used before. "Really I am."

He sank back down into his seat and grabbed the steering wheel. "Ya got Francy?" he asked, glancing at me in the rearview mirror, worry in his eyes.

I lifted my stuffed bear to show him. Thirteen was too old to be holding on to a teddy bear—at least, that's what Mother thought. I was glad Father didn't feel that way.

"Then get some rest, Puddlejump," Father said, using the nickname he'd given me when I was a little girl. "And don't worry, we'll be there soon." As if that could make me feel any better.

He put the car in gear, and the two of us were off again, driving to Loon Lake—or Loony Lake, as my twin brother, Abe, had already renamed it—a sanatorium where sick and contagious people like me went to get better. At least, that was the hope.

When I knew Father wasn't looking, I opened my hand. The damp handkerchief unfolded just enough so I could see the streaks of blood across it. It wasn't the first time I'd coughed up blood. But I'd never told anybody, not even Abe. I was too afraid. Did this blood mean I was going to die?

Copyright © 2012 by Marsha Hayles

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Leaving (May 1940) 1

Chapter 2 Loonless Lake 4

Chapter 3 Turning into a Patient 9

Chapter 4 A Gray Picture 13

Chapter 5 The Others 18

Chapter 6 The Land of Rules 23

Chapter 7 Smelly Stuff 28

Chapter 8 Going Home 32

Chapter 9 A Different June 40

Chapter 10 The Routine (June 1940) 45

Chapter 11 The New Bug 50

Chapter 12 Blue Nothing 54

Chapter 13 Blue Something 62

Chapter 14 The Giant 67

Chapter 15 Moving Pictures 70

Chapter 16 Out of Breath 76

Chapter 17 Flying Away 81

Chapter 18 A Boost 86

Chapter 19 Numbers 91

Chapter 20 Discharged 96

Chapter 21 Looking Back 101

Chapter 22 A Brook 107

Chapter 23 Cold News 113

Chapter 24 Wind and Weather 120

Chapter 25 A Ruby 127

Chapter 26 A Different Current 134

Chapter 27 Gifts 144

Chapter 28 More Gifts 149

Chapter 29 The Plan 152

Chapter 30 The Lie 159

Chapter 31 Making Sense 163

Chapter 32 A Warming 166

Chapter 33 Finding Her 171

Chapter 34 Losing Her 175

Chapter 35 Good-bye 181

Chapter 36 Letting Go 183

Chapter 37 Bed Post 189

Chapter 38 Midnight Journey 195

Chapter 39 A Different Path 205

Chapter 40 Last Night (July 8, 1941) 209

Chapter 41 Going Home 215

Chapter 42 Blank Pages 219

Author's Note 225

Notes on the Images 233

Acknowledgments 241

Customer Reviews

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Breathing Room 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
M_Sil More than 1 year ago
Breathing Room is a great book for mid-grade/young adult readers that works on many levels. The characters are interesting and you care what happens to them. Understanding the complexity of tuberculosis and it's treatment, or lack of, is woven seamlessly into the story. And it works well for this age group as a way to open a discussion on facing life even when it throws a curveball. Excellent book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally love this book. Its sad and outgoing at the same time! It seems like a real help to people to help overcome sicknesses!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. It is so inspiring and sad. I totally will tell all my friends to read it!!! Trust me it is one of the best!!!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&%$##$@$%&$&;*+*-&+&$#%-&*& This book was so sad I cryed during the end of the book so good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Breathing Room is such a great book! Iv'e read it twice and haven't gotten tired of it. Martha Hayles uses great detail makes me feel really close to the people who have TB. I not only had fun reading this book,but I also learned a little about TB. This book is definetely a must read.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Learned alot from this story. Did not know much about TB but now I know a little bit more. Evvy's story inspirational and very sad. Quick and easy read. Very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is by far my favorite book ive never read a book as many times as this one either
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