Breathe Free – Nina Jones

(1 customer review)

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Description

Emma has no idea where Anya is.

She might have died in the fire. She might be alive, abroad, anywhere. Alone. In danger.

She has to find her. But how? Emma is only 14. Just a normal girl. Nothing special.

Except, she won’t give up. She will run away from home, cross continents, risk her life again and again, to find her best friend.

But will it be worth it?

Jones writes elegantly and eloquently, and tackles difficult subjects bravely, honestly, and above all tactfully. – Robert Welbourn, author of Ideal Angels

Additional information

Author

Nina Jones

Publication Date

18th May 2021

Language

English

Pages

236

1 review for Breathe Free – Nina Jones

  1. Ambre Nulph

    I was given a copy of Breath Free by Nina Jones by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    **This review may contain spoilers**

    It’s a harsh story, ngl. The 14-year-old protagonist goes through A LOT in this book. It should come with several trigger or at least content warnings. Plus, it had a few white savior-y moments that kind of made me roll my eyes. But it held my attention for sure. 3.5 stars.

    Most of this book had me on the edge of my seat, although it started out fairly slow and a little confusing. There’s not much info to tell us what led to this world – which seems so much like ours – being the way that it is, with the Worker Camps, ‘New America’, etc. But what we do know is that Emma becomes best friends with a girl in the Worker Camp near her home – Anya.

    Their friendship, which is already put at risk because Emma’s parents don’t like her being friends with ‘one of those people’, is shattered when the housing at the camp mysteriously catches fire. Emma watches in terror, basically trapped in her home by her parents, as the fire rages and the emergency services don’t seem to be doing anything, especially, as Emma’s dad puts it, “there’s plenty more where that came from”.

    This starts off a chain of events that cut me to the core. I had a hard time believing at first that a 14-year-old would deliberately decide to set off on this harrowing journey for a girl she’d only known for ‘months’ (even if she’d been visiting her “every week and sometimes every day”). But once Emma sneaks into the back of a truck bound for Calais and an Assessment Camp, where she thinks she’ll find Anya, you can’t help but be carried along with her, almost as helpless as she is against the storm of trials she’s soon to undergo.

    Once at the Assessment Camp, Emma meets a boy, Dima, and they’re instantly drawn to each other. When Emma realizes that Anya’s not in Calais, she knows she’s got to move on to the next point – a high-risk facility in Turkey. Dima joins her (because what else has he got to lose?) and their journey gets increasingly worse, from the places they’re locked up in to the people who lock them up. They make it to Turkey and the horrors of the camp are worse than anything Emma’s seen before, although Dima’s been there, done that, lost his family.

    But, unfortunately, Anya’s not in this high-risk facility either. Emma has no idea where she could be now, but Dima convinces that they need to get to New America, where they can breathe free, and where Anya might also be. After yet another traumatic journey that ultimately breaks her and Dima, they find themselves locked up again in the New Manhattan Presbyterian Hospital’s psyche ward. New America turns out to be a lot like what I’m imagining ‘old’ America is (so the real-life one), rather than the land of milk and honey waiting with a “lamp beside the golden door” to welcome them.

    Emma spends quite a while there, waiting to be processed, now that authorities know who she is, and for her parents to be allowed to come get her. While she’s there, her therapists eventually convince her Anya was just a figment of her traumatized brain. But is she really? And what’s happened to Dima? Emma’s determined to find out the truth once and for all…

    It’s a harsh story, ngl. The 14-year-old protagonist goes through A LOT in this book. It should come with several trigger or at least content warnings. Plus, it had a few white savior-y moments that kind of made me roll my eyes. But it held my attention for sure. 3.5 stars.

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