by Ginger Scott
I feel bad giving this book 4 stars. And I think the only reason the last star fell is due to me and to my current situation. I have very little time this month to dedicate to reading thanks to finals at uni, so it took me a bloody long time to finish it and it felt as if it were dragging.
Anyway, it was a great read. Ginger Scott, as usual, shows her superpower: amazing characterization. Every character is rounded, complex, shaded. The people portrayed in her novels could be the ones you meet in the street, the ones who live in your house. It could be you.
I think Will Hollister might be the best character she’s ever shaped so far (at least of the ones I’ve read). As she states in the acknowledgement, she has tortured this poor guy like no other character before, and what a fabulous result it had. Will Hollister is self-lessnesss personified. He’s this incredibly tortured man, who’s both lost and a rock for those around him. He’s so human, not a cocky athlete. He’s just a guy who’s been dealt a shitty hand in life and who is now trying to piece his life together starting from Maddy, the girl he’s loved for his whole life but who wasn’t his to have.
Someone could say there’s OM drama since Maddy used to date Will’s brother, who passed away, something we find out in the very first chapter. But the truth is that, as the story progresses, you understand the real two people who are meant to be are Will and Maddy.
The plot twists were unexpected, they shocked me and saddened me. I liked how secrets were revealed one tidbit at the time and how they weren’t held above the characters’ heads until the end, so that we get to see Maddy and Will together for more than the last few chapters.
Their relationship went through many phases but two things were always clear: 1. they bring the best out of each other (athletically and as people) and 2. they make the other happy.
There were also a few scenes that were priceless: the “skinny dipping”, the “strip club”. They were light, fun, and care-free… and also much needed, since the general tone of the novel wasn’t really that upbeat.
Another thing I loved is how Will and Maddy had history. They were childhood friends, and that’s a trope that gets to me every time.
I also liked the setting. Both Maddy and Will are athletes, but while we’re sure Maddy will make the Olympic team, Will, thanks to his shady past, is kind of a comeback star, a sensation, an unstable talent. Even if they trained at morning and lots of interactions were set in the Swimming Club owned by Maddy’s parents, the sport part only really picked up the last 25% of the book, while the first 75% was more focused on the romance. There were also a couple of very heated scenes that were a great improvement from the tamer ones in the “falling series”. It made for a more passionate relationship between the characters, and also matched their ages better.
I would definitely recommend it, and the only flaw I found is probably that it didn’t grip me from the beginning to the end, leading to me partly skimming some paragraph in the last chapters. This could also be because of my crazy schedule and I’m sure that, had I read the book in a couple days, I would have enjoyed it much more, so I don’t know how reliable my opinion is.
Anyway, relatable, broken yet amazing characters, a love story that is complex yet meant to be and effortless, plot twists that will have your brows rising and your eyes misting. This is what you can expect from this book.
Lastly, the writing was truly beautiful, conveying emotions in a way that makes all the difference in a such highly emotionally-charged book like “Hold My Breath”