“Hope can’t be a hollow wish or dream. It needs to be filled, levied, brimming over with intention and action and belief and reaching, reaching, reaching, stretching until your muscles ache because you want it that damn much, and you won’t stop reaching until you hold it. Until it is yours.”

–from A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen

Henry Holt presents

A Breath Too Late

a YA Contemporary novel about loss, pain, and the hope that can live in the darkest of places, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year

“Raw, heartbreaking, and poignant.”

–New York Times-bestselling author Kathleen Glasgow

“A haunting story of suffering, punctuated with brilliant points of hope and light. This is an important story. A necessary story for so many countless people who need to know they are not alone in their pain. Callen’s writing radiates with passion, honesty and love.”

–An Na, National Book Award finalist
and Printz award winning author

“Bittersweet and haunting.”


“Absolutely devastating and yet hauntingly beautiful, A Breath Too Late is a poignant and timely debut from an incredibly gifted author.”

–Isabella Ogbolumani, Buffalo Street Books

“A memorable, hopeful story of regret.”

–Kirkus Reviews

“A love letter and life raft to the broken-hearted.”

–New York Times-bestselling author Alison McGhee

To buy or learn more, click here.

Dear reader,

I remember standing in a bookstore years ago and placing two fingers on the shelf where my name would be and deciding that one day, somehow my own book would live on that shelf. 10 years later, that moment came true.

A Breath Too Late is my whisper into the void to say that I see you even when your heart is aching because I have sat in the dark too. I wrote this book because I had to let the pages soak up pain and hope and the truth of what happens behind closed doors and silent lips. I wrote this book because I want us to break the silence about mental health and domestic violence. I wrote this book to remind readers that even in the darkest and most uncertain of days that their hopes and dreams and lives matter.

I also wrote A Breath Too Late because the writing of it chipped away bits of me that had clung to doubt and shoulds and insecurities and carved space for the real me to emerge. A me that was less afraid and more certain. A me that knew her own dreams and life mattered too.

Here is the thing about this writing journey: it is messy and beautiful and tatters your heart and stitches it back together again. And when I sit back and think of my years as an advocate and my years as a behavioral coach, there is so much that is in the very marrow of a writer’s bones that is translatable to our inner growth and external impact and influence. That’s what I am going to talk about here in my corner of the digital universe. Life. Writing. Dreams. All of it. Because it is all tangled up together in gold thread and our stories — the ones we write and the ones we live.

Hang out with me if you have an activist heart, big dreams, or ink in your veins. You’re my people. Stick around and let’s see what magic we will make + discover together.

Remember… Art is sacred. Art is rebellion. Art is influence.

Art is you.

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