A 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection Amelia Bloomer List’s 2019 Top Ten Recommended Feminist Books for Young Readers A Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist A Junior Library Guild Selection
“A love letter to girls—bittersweet and full of hope.” —Ibi Zoboi, author of National Book Award Finalist American Street “This is a stellar debut.” —Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Little & Lion and Pointe “A vibrant, essential story of healing, resilience, and finding one’s family.” —Stephanie Kuehn, author of William C. Morris Award winning Charm & Strange “A raw, beautiful, unforgettable must-read.” —Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Allegedly “Poetic.” —Angela Johnson, award-winning author of Heaven “A powerful, poignant story about refusing to let the past dictate who you are or who you will become.” —Kirkus Reviews “This is a well-written, thought-provoking book that tackles difficult topics…a stirring debut.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Amber Smith and Sara Zarr.
Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—study hard in school, be respectful, and never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially living in her mother’s shadow.
When Indy is sent to stay in Nassau, trouble follows her and she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt, who would rather throw Indy out onto the street than see the truth. Completely broke with only a hand-me-down pregnancy book as a resource, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home.
After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if she’s found that place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with.
About the Author
Janice Lynn Mather is a Bahamian writer with an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has been a collector of interesting jobs: journalist, conversationalist, performance poet, and professional finger-wagger. Currently, she lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she hunches over her computer, grows vegetables, dabbles at the beach, reads in the sun, grumbles at the rain, and, most of all, writes.
“A love letter to girls—bittersweet and full of hope.” — Ibi Zoboi, author of National Book Award Finalist AMERICAN STREET
“This is a stellar debut.” — Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of LITTLE & LION and POINTE
“A vibrant, essential story of healing, resilience, and finding one’s family.” — Stephanie Kuehn, author of William C. Morris Award winning CHARM & STRANGE
“A raw, beautiful, unforgettable must-read.” — Tiffany D. Jackson, author of ALLEGEDLY
“Poetic.” — Angela Johnson, award-winning author of HEAVEN
“If you want to understand #MeToo for a sixteen-year old growing up on what many Americans know mostly as a tourist paradise, read Learning to Breathe. Mather is stunning as she shows us Indira's Bahamas, its landscapes, the search of a girl for herself on her island home. Indira will break your heart with her fierce voice and grit in the face of living in a family so damaged they all but abandon this beautiful girl of their own.” — Terry Farish, award-winning author of THE GOOD BRAIDER
"Through well-crafted dialogue, fresh characters, and solid pacing, the book's mature themes are handled carefully and with sensitivity. A powerful, poignant story about refusing to let the past dictate who you are or who you will become." — Kirkus Reviews
"Much like Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, this challenging read confronts injustice and celebrates strength of character and spirit." — Booklist
* "This is a well-written, thought-provoking book that tackles difficult topics such as unwanted pregnancy, familial relationships, and rape, with nuance... A stirring debut for all YA collections." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW
*A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Mather skillfully balances emotionally wrenching scenes and surprisingly humorous ones; well-drawn supporting characters...enrich this capable debut." — Publishers Weekly
"There is a realness and great level of depth to Indira’s character, and Mather does a magnificent job of conveying a girl’s muted existence following sexual assault and trauma." — BCCB
"Emotionally charged, thought provoking and unforgettable." — Shelf Awareness
*A Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist
*A 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
*Amelia Bloomer List’s 2019 Top Ten Recommended Feminist Books for Young Readers