Genre: YA, Contemporary/Romancce
“Love helped me live life instead of just survive it.”
– Rebecca Donovan, Reason to Breathe
Series: Breathing Trilogy
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 while 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 – but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.
Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope. [Goodreads]
I was taken on an emotional roller coaster with this book. It was heartbreaking, upsetting and at times absolutely beautiful. It touches on the dark subject of abuse. It was an inspiring story about how love and great friendships have helped a girl named Emma and have given her a reason to keep breathing. Donovan’s writing is poetic is a way and wonderfully descriptive and detailed. She paints such a beautiful picture of love, loss, pain and overall the reason to keep breathing. Although at times there were scenes that were so detailed and vivid, depicting the horror that Emma faces, there were also beautifully developed characters, relationships and romantic moments that were extremely moving. I love that for the most part it was told in a way that was day by day. It did become repetitive at points, but it really helped you to feel like you were in the story and were an invisible bystander in Emma’s life.
Emma was such a dynamic, complex and overall extremely strong woman. The struggles that she faces the whole book make you really feel for her and develop a sense of awe at how she holds her life all together throughout all that she is faces with. She excels academically, is a phenomenal athlete, while she suffers such cruelty at home. She is definitely an amazing character. I did get frustrated with her at times, but I guess that is to be expected. I went through scary movie syndrome, where I was yelling at her at times to tell someone and to stop keeping everything such a secret, but I do understand why she was doing the things she was in order to protect others. Emma had an exceptional best friend, Sara, who was another awesome character. She is the ultimate best friend, she doesn’t care what others think and would do anything to help/protect Emma. It was hard at times when you see Sara breaking down and scared about the events and situations taking place. Then there is the amazing love interest, Evan! He is pretty much the perfect male character. Also it was great that there was actually a natural growth of love throughout the book and it was not insta love. It really added depth to the story and made it that much better.
This book had me captivated from the very beginning. I became so attached to the characters and engulfed in the story. I am happy I listened to it on audiobook because it was a fantastic narrator. I was so shocked at the ending and could not believe what had happened. I just had to start the second book right away. Overall this is a riveting book that had me laughing, crying and completely in love with every bit of it, although it was upsetting and frustrating at time. I highly recommend this, it is worth the read.
Audiobook rating 5/5