Breathe and Count Back from Ten (Hardcover)
In this gorgeously written and authentic novel, Verónica, a Peruvian-American teen with hip dysplasia, auditions to become a mermaid at a Central Florida theme park in the summer before her senior year, all while figuring out her first real boyfriend and how to feel safe in her own body.
Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her disability. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body.
Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition. But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor.
She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.
About the Author
Natalia Sylvester is the author Running, her YA debut, as well as two novels for adults, Everyone Knows You Go Home, which won an International Latino Book Award, and Chasing the Sun. Born in Lima, Peru, she grew up in Miami, Central Florida, and South Texas, and received a BFA from the University of Miami. She currently lives in Austin, Texas. Look for her at nataliasylvester.com and follow her on Twitter @NataliaSylv.
"An authentic portrait of a character who wants to be seen for who she is and not the limitations placed on her. . . . From managing dual identities, sexism, and career expectations from her immigrant parents, Vero's warranted anger and sometimes impossible life is one worth rooting for." — Booklist
"Intricate, nuanced, and empowering." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A poignant and powerful story... Real and beautifully relevant. — Laura Taylor Name, New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
Breathtaking and utterly original... A tribute to disabled bodies and a vital addition to YA literature. — Lillie Lainoff, author of One for All
With its deep honest, hope, emotion, and tenderness, this is a coming-of-age story I will forever hold close to my heart. — Jonny Garza Villa, author of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
A gorgeous, heartfelt exploration of what it means to know and love the body that you have... A shimmering triumph of a book. — Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur's Wife and Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space