Hold Me Like a Breath

by Tiffany Schmidt 

Review by KM

Two years ago, I was graduating college with my degree in English Literature. My program wasn’t one that required a thesis, but I had this entire fifty-page paper planned out on illegal organ transplants, or repossession, as seen in literature and what it meant as a reflection on our society. It’s a surprisingly small niche for fiction; I’m always delighted to find more books that broach the topic. It is my reading happy-place. I sincerely squealed when I came across the summary of Hold Me Like a Breath. I needed it and I needed it now. Heck, I’ve already read it and I still feel like I need it. Someone speed up time so I can go grab a physical copy from BN.


In Penelope Landlow’s world, almost anything can be bought or sold. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families controlling the black market for organ transplants. Because of an autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise easily, Penny is considered too “delicate” to handle the family business, or even to step foot outside their estate.

All Penelope has ever wanted is independence-until she’s suddenly thrust into the dangerous world all alone, forced to stay one step ahead of her family’s enemies. As she struggles to survive the power plays of rival crime families, she learns dreams come with casualties, betrayal hurts worse than bruises, and there’s nothing she won’t risk for the people she loves.*


chowed through this book. I couldn’t put it down. It was so frustrating having to go into work being two thirds of the way through, giving me a six hour interruption and letting me daydream about the possibilities and characters for just as long. The eARC I received was around 400 pages: not overly long, but long enough to really get hooked.

Half way through, I groaned. I paused and took a breath, contemplated putting the entire book down for an hour or two. The reason? It looked like there was going to be a love triangle. I’m not sure if anyone shares this opinion, but I am so done with love triangles in YA. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I ended up satisfied.

More than anything, I loved Penelope. I loved her demands for autonomy, for her refusal to be seen as weak. She didn’t let her disease define her, especially as everyone around her tried to force her into that position. There were times she even used their warped perceptions against them. It was awesome. The only person I loved more was Magnolia Vickers.

The worst thing about this book is that you can’t go and grab it from your local bookstore today. You have to wait until May 19th. Ugh, I know. That sounds unbearable. Trust me, I feel similar.

This book is the beginning of Schmidt’s Once Upon a Crime Family Series. I’m totally hoping for a book from Magnolia Vicker’s point of view. I don’t even mind waiting, as long as it comes eventually.

*Summary taken from Amazon

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