Breathe My Name Book Poster Image

Breathe My Name



Teen copes after sisters die at mom's hand.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are some true horrors in this book, however there is also forgiveness, positive coping, and recovery. We see teens who have great capacities for communication who still make stupid mistakes. Those mistakes are handled by very present adults in an appropriate manner.


A mother kills three of her daughters and attempts to kill a fourth; we see how the bodies of the dead children looked. A girl is almost choked to death and a man is killed when he is hit in the head. The blood and how his bludgeoned head looked is described.


Sex is discussed, often jokingly, in typical adolescent ways. A teen girl and boy are involved in heavy petting and bed sharing at a motel. Teens talk about a book where the characters "diddle" each other.


Mild swearing, including "s--t." Usually used in reaction to a difficult situation.


Most product placements are used in the description of a scene, including Saturday Night Live, CNN, XBox, VW Bug, Hundai, Google, and Walmart.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a book you may want to read before your kids do. A mother kills three of her children and attempts to kill a fourth. Parents should also be aware there are instances of serious mental illness, sexual situations, some product placement, and issues of adoption, forgiveness, coping, and trust in this very heavy, often disturbing book.

What's the story?

Frances' story could have been ripped from the headlines: \"Mother Kills Her Three Children, Attempts to Kill Fourth.\" This novel picks up after the incident -- Frances copes with her grief and anger while she tries to live a normal life. When she's paired up in chemistry class with an unusual new student, Nix, Frances struggles with trusting their friendship with her biggest secret. How can she open up when she still worries about her mother finding her again?

Is it any good?


BREATHE MY NAME is an intense novel that's hard to put down. The reader is forced to relieve the most horrific moments in Frances' childhood. If they can cope well with the startling subject matter, they will enjoy this nicely paced, contemporary story.

R.A. Nelson walks the audience through Frances' emotional journey with grace, conveying horror without sensationalism. Teens will see themselves in Frances as she struggles with things outside of her control, like her past, while navigating through the trials of the average teen experience. The tone is increasingly hopeful except for one jarring moment in the final plot twist that feels more like a made-for-TV movie incident. That aside, this will entrance the right mature reader who likes books on tough teen topics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how important trust is in a friendship. Do you have a friend who you can trust with your own issues and pain? Have you ever had a friend place their trust in you?Families can also talk about the media's role in sensationalizing the news and empathizing with those who are featured in news stories.

Book details

Author:R. A. Nelson
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:October 18, 2007
Number of pages:320

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Adult Written bychristian_carmela February 20, 2009

You Have To READ THIS!!

It was an amazing book. Kind of hard to follow at first but stick with it. You will not be disappointed.
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN March 26, 2011

Lacks the oomph needed to attract the reader's interest.

I tried (as hard as I could) to read this book, but the first chapter in itself felt emotionless, demented, and dragged on for what seemed like hours. After about the third or fourth chapter I finally just said "Enough!" Frances's voice carries no emotion at all. The other characters as well were emotionless and rather flat. I do not recommend this book to anyone.
Teen, 14 years old Written byvalentinebaby December 10, 2011


kind of great book but too scary for children under 13
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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