ROOM TO BREATHE by JoAnn Bren Guernsey


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In a sequel to the well-received Five Summers, Mandy starts her senior year faced with major adjustments: coming to terms with her father in the vacuum created by her mother's recent death from cancer, breaking off a too-intense relationship with Peter (three years older), replacing old buddy Lynn with a more compatible new friend. Pete and Dad have long been close; Mandy loves both, and at first doesn't understand why she feels so trapped between them. Pete is so loving, so supportive, that her irritable need for space seems ungenerous, but his insistence on consummating their long-standing mutual attraction makes her angry enough to make a break; and despite the pain this causes, she finds she's relieved to escape his too-settled plans for her. As she reaches toward new friends--Rachel, a wise, empathetic confidante; Gary, congenial son of a black lawyer--she begins to understand the difference between being needed and being possessed by those she loves. Even though Dad forbids her to date Gary, Dad and Mandy reach a new understanding based on his recognition that she needs to define her own life. A complex, thoughtful exploration of the pressures of growing up. An unusually perceptive jacket painting of characters looking towards a movie screen captures the tensions and themes of the novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1986
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin