Author(s): Eileen Merriman
A moving story about unconventional love, bullying and being true to yourself.
‘I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’ Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe – any problem they might throw up can be solved. 'If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon … there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.' People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix...
Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves?
Felix wishes he was the prime number five — numbers are safe and there’s always a solution. People are too hard to cope with. But when Bailey arrives at school these two outsiders are drawn to each other and fall in love. However, Bailey is trying to cope with his father’s violence, terrified that his siblings will be put into foster care if he tells the authorities. He convinces himself it’s just two more years until he can escape. Only Felix knows the truth.
Merriman nails the angst felt by both boys as they try to weather the fallout after they are outed. She explores heavy themes of sexuality, abuse, bullying, homophobia and family break-ups with sensitivity and tenderness. Felix and Bailey are credible characters and their heartbreaking stories are told in alternating chapters. They deserve a happy ending, in spite of the appalling lack of care shown by their parents and teachers, but will their trust in each other be enough? Invisibly Breathing will be inhaled by readers aged 14+ who love gritty, compassionate, beautifully written literature.
From the author of Catch Me When You Fall and Pieces of You which were both finalists in last year's NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. And Invisibly Breathing is a finalist for this year's awards!
Finalist in the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults - Young Adult Fiction Award
“Author Eileen Merriman has created characters and situations which numerous young people can easily connect with. It makes this more than just a book to be read, but gripping literature which both celebrates love and also exposes society’s harmful behaviour towards love that is not considered ‘conventional’. As a reader, this made for a read that was both refreshing and thought-provoking. Rating 5/5 stars.” - Faga Tuigamala, Tearaway
'Eileen Merriman creates genuine teenage characters' - NZ Books
Eileen Merriman works full-time as a consultant haematologist at North Shore Hospital. Her writing has appeared in a number of national and international journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly, The Island Review, Literary Orphans, the Bath Short Story Award Anthology 2015, the Sunday Star-Times, F(r)iction, takahe, Headland and Flash Frontier. Her first novel was Pieces of You, with reviewers calling it 'compulsively readable' and 'compelling, challenging, and heartbreaking'. It was a 2018 Storylines Notable Book and, along with her second novel, it was shortlisted for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Her other awards include runner-up in the 2018 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award, third for three consecutive years in the 2014-2016 Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards, second in the 2015 Bath Flash Fiction Award, commended in the 2015 Bath Short Story Competition, and first place in the 2015 Graeme Lay Short Story Competition.