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.”