About the Book:

It started the day she heard Daddy slur, “She ain’t mine. You had the nerve to name her Dawn. Look at her! You shudda named her Midnight!” Then Daddy left . . . for good. And the loving music that had filled Dawn’s life went silent.

That was the day that a “Midnight” Duckling appeared in the mirror, took up residence in her chest, and controlled her ability to breathe. That was the day she learned to recognize “leaving time” . . . her superpower.

Couched in speculation, Jus Breathe is the tale of a young Black woman’s struggle to defy her inner “Duckling” and embrace her true self. Set in New York City during the turbulent sixties, it’s an improbable love story with precarious impulses, secret pasts, and inner demons.

Dawn, a survivor, flees her stepfather’s violent home. While struggling to go to college, she perfects sofa-surfing and hones her ability to leave situations in an instant. But in the mist of the chaotic uprising that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, serendipity spins Dawn into Danny’s world.

Toxically in love, no longer a “leaver,” Dawn realizes that in order to survive, she must break free of Danny’s dominance. But that Duckling, who’s allied with Danny, threatens to squeeze the life-breath from her if she dares to leave . . . that ugly, midnight-black Duckling, she has to kill.


“There is a layer in Jus Breathe, which feels like a blend of Jazz by Toni Morrison and Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. All explore the stories of Black folks, specifically Black girls and women, as they are in reality. Dawn feels real because she is real; she embodies the tenacity asked of girls, especially Black girls. With this offering, Carter ensures a happy ending for at least one Black girl. With resilience, strength, and the power of her breath, Dawn returns to music and takes a lesson from Aretha Franklin: she was always worthy of love and respect.”

~ Keana Agula Labra, Manhattan Book Review

Full Review

Buy the Book – Amazon, Bookshop.org

About the Author

B. Lynn Carter was born and raised in New York City’s Bronx county. She earned a degree in creative writing from The City College of New York