Reason to Breathe (Breathing #1) by Rebecca Donovan
Paperback, Unabridged Edition, 456 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Skyscape
~Rating: 5/5 stars~
“No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?”
In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection—pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises, not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth―at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.
One girl’s story of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and her precarious grasp of hope: Reason to Breathe is the first installment of the acclaimed Breathing Series.
Where do I start? Amazing, heart wrenching, extremely emotional, beautifully written novel. I loved it! I just couldn’t put it down, I just had to see what happened next. It’s definitely one of those books that just lingers for a while after being read. One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.
Emma Thomas is every parent’s dream. She’s an excellent student. She does her chores without complaint and helps with the younger kids at home. She’s a star athlete and a talented artist. Her best friend, Sara, is one of the most popular girls in school. So why then does she live her life in a perpetual state of fear? Emma has a dark secret about which no one, not even Sara, knows the truth. Emma is not looking for someone to rescue her. She keeps a safe distance from those around her, never wanting anyone to get close enough to discover what she’s hiding. She is barely coping with the terror, but telling someone the truth would have devastating consequences. From the very beginning, you can feel how trapped Emma is. With her parents no longer in the picture, she was sent to live with her aunt, uncle and two little cousins. Her home life was brutal. I need to stress how much of a monster her aunt was. No one except Sara, Emma’s best friend, knows that Emma is abused at home by a woman who is so severely deranged that I am still struggling to define her madness. She hides her bruises and welts but she hides her emotional scars even better. Until she meets Evan. Evan notices her, she intrigues him and makes him want to know her better. However, Evan’s attentions threaten her pursuit of anonymity and she fights their growing feelings for each other, knowing that staying invisible is the only way of surviving in Emma’s household. But Evan is just as relentless. He pursues her until she can no longer “hide in the shadows”, his affection towards her allows her to lower her defences and he slowly learns of her pain. Her aunt, Carol was cold-hearted and brutally abusive in every way – physically, verbally, and emotionally. She might actually be one of the most purely evil characters I have ever read.
When Evan Mathews waltzed in to Emma’s life, I just knew it would never be the same!. Confident, gorgeous and new at school – something about him managed to unravel her… bringing her out of her shell. He had this way about him that was hard to ignore, he saw into her, was direct about his thoughts, and utterly determined to get to know her better. And, despite her better judgment, she carefully decided to let him in despite knowing the repercussions if they were ever found out. He was the breath of fresh air that she needed, whether she wanted to admit it or not. She may have had a life before Evan, but once he came around she was actually LIVING. I loved every moment they had together, Evan just melted my heart!! Oh, I love this boy!! And when Emma pushed him away to protect her secret, I was so furious and shattered that it was painful to read on. My heart shattered more and more as she opened herself up to someone else, it was just awful. I was so mad at her, mad at Evan for being so stubborn, mad at Sarah for not just grabbing them both and screaming at them for being so stupid!! Ugh, that section of the book took so much out of me!! But I think Emma needed that time to realize what she had with Evan, and to realize he was worth risking it all for.
After all of the torment that this story puts you through, I suppose the ending shouldn’t have come as a big surprise, but it still did for me. My stomach dropped, my heart froze, and tears filled my eyes as I read to the end. That epilogue…. oh my god… ;-; …This was not an ending, this was a stab to the chest that left me speechless.
The writing in this book was spectacular. Every chapter was a progression in the story; I don’t want to say too much but the ending in this one will leave you BREATHLESS. I cannot wait to read the next installment, Barely Breathing.
I highly recommend it!
Optimism seeps from every pore of my body. I truly believe that what’s supposed to happen… will! In that regard, I don’t know how to give up; it’s not part of my biological make up.
I’m a passionate (and some would say, overly enthusiastic) person. I learn by doing (and have been burned more times that I’d like to admit), but I will always throw my entire self into whatever I do – fail or succeed.
I think this is evident when I write, leaving nothing behind and spilling it all out on the pages. I give it all to my readers – love it or hate it.
The path I’m on is very often my own, veering off the beaten path at the sight of something more interesting or captivating, getting caught in the vines and thorns in order to experience the beauty and intrigue others often pass by. And I always meet the most interesting people along the way…