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Breathing Room

Breathing Room Cover




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

Product Details

Henry Holt & Company
General Juvenile Fiction
Hayles, Marsha
Historical - United States - 20th Century
Health & Daily Living - General
Social Issues - Friendship
Social Issues - Death & Dying
Children s-Health Stories-General
Health & Daily Living/Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
Children s-Health Stories-Diseases
Edition Description:
Middle-Grade Fiction
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 5 up to 9
Black-and-white illustrations throughout
7.75 x 5 in
Age Level:
from 10 up to 14

Related Subjects

Children's » Health » Diseases
Children's » Health » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » United States » 20th Century
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Death and Dying
Young Adult » General

Breathing Room
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805089615 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in 1940 at a sanitarium in Loon Lake, Minn., this first novel from picture-book author Hayles (Bunion Burt) is an evocative piece of historical fiction. Thirteen-year-old Evvy Hoffmeister has tuberculosis and feels abandoned by her family when she's sent to the sanitarium to be cured. The cold nurses, strict rules, mind-numbing routines, and endless bed rest are dispiriting for Evvy and her roommates: kind Beverly, glamorous Pearl, and defensive Dena. 'Trying to stay alive at Loon Lake felt like it was killing me already,' says Evvy. Nonetheless, the girls find strength in each other and discover creative ways to bring cheer. Evvy bonds with a new roommate and a warm nurse, but the beginning of war in Europe and the constant deaths in the institution keep the patients under a dark cloud. Evvy's strong, emphatic narration gives voice to her resentment, isolation, and determination. Hayles's sympathetic characters and detailed account is complemented by historical documents and photos throughout. Readers will feel plunged into the book's intimate — claustrophobic, even — setting and immersed in Evvy's daily struggles. Ages 10 — 14. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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