Review: Hold Me Like A Breath (Once Upon A Crime Family #1) by Tiffany Schmidt

Book Title:  Hold Me Like A Breath
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Published Date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Genre: YA Retelling
Series: Book One in Once Upon A Crime Family series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Bloomsbury Children’s in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I fell in love with the cover back in December when I was watching Bloomsbury’s virtual event. It was a cover that stood out to me even days later. The synopsis also stood out to me because organ donation is one of the things I care a lot about and the idea that there is a black market for them is so interesting to me. There is a significant shortage of organ donors, so of course desperate people have to do desperate things.

Like buy a much needed organ off the black market.

That’s where the Landlow’s, Zhu’s & Vickers’ families come in. These three families control the black market.

This story is about Penelope Landlow. I liked her a lot in the beginning of the book. I could tell how frustrated she was with her life and the restrictions placed on her. I would have probably gone crazy myself if I were in her situation. I loved that she was close to her brother Carter, and her brother’s friend Garrett. It was obvious early on that she liked Garrett and that the feeling was mutual.

As the book continued, I was expecting to be pulled deeper and deeper into this world, but I really wasn’t. Things happened and then more things happened and before I knew it Penelope was on her own. I was expecting to keep liking her, but I wasn’t fond of the decisions she was making. I wanted her to reach out to the one guy she claimed she wanted to see, but instead she was waiting on him to find her.

But this guy didn’t know she was alive and she knew that. Was he supposed to just know that she was’t dead?

Making questionable decisions is so common with teenagers that I didn’t fault Penelope. As far as main characters go, I liked her and I was curious to see what would happen next.

It was the insta-love with Char that really drove me insane. I don’t like insta-love, never have and I could not understand why Penelope was so interested in him. He didn’t excite me, there was no chemistry between then. I actually found him to be quite boring and un-swoony. I think that was one of my issues.

Along with not liking Penelope’s love interest, I didn’t feel like the other secondary characters were developed well. I felt like there could have been better character development and I would have enjoyed the book much more than I did. Poor character development can ruin a book for me, and in the case of this book, I think that was my biggest issue.

But the ending was interesting and it left me quite curious as to what was going to happen to these characters next. I have a feeling things are far from over.
Unfortunately I ended up being pretty “meh” on the book overall. I am unsure if I will continue the series, but I most likely will because that ending was very interesting. I was so looking forward to this book and I hate that I was so disappointed in this book overall. I am going to give it 3 stars. It wasn’t a terrible book, it was just a book that didn’t work well for me.

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