Series: Breathing #2
Date Published: May 8, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Audiobook Length: 15 hours 47 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Kate Rudd
Description: Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life.
I begged for you to breathe with every breath I gave you. I kept pleading for you to breathe over and over again. And then… then you did.
I liked this book even better than the first. Hands down my new favorite author is Rebecca Donovan. I know a lot of people out there were mad about this book for several reasons: Emma’s messed up decision making skills (or lack thereof), Jonathan dating Rachel HELLO!!!!, no HEA ending, cliffhangers, and so much more. Okay, so heck yes, I am giving this a 5 star review but not for the normal reasons I would. I did not get what I wanted with this book and yet, Rebecca Donovan’s writing solicits emotions from me like no other book can. She makes me want things for Emma that I KNOW I should NOT want, but I want them anyways. This author possesses a unique gift to slowly and imperceptibly reveal her characters’ true personalities. I feel like I get to discover the story as though I am Emma.
A BIG point of contention in this book is Jonathan. Now let me just say, I love Evan. Evan is so good and pure and true and I really want him and Emma together. BUUUUT, there is Jonathan. Okay, so for all you Jonathan haters out there, permit me to toss out one word, especially for you devoted members of Team Evan, – Annalese. Yup. Argue THAT one. There is not one single character in this book that is perfect. Not one is without flaws. And that makes this book sooooo interesting. My favorite thing about this book is how well written the characters are. You may not like Emma and she
may, she WILL frustrate the crap out of you, but she is REAL. She’s been through a lot in her life. So she’s obviously got some issues dealing, but I think anyone one would, really. Every character Rebecca Donovan writes enriches and deepens the plot. I ache with Emma. I felt the loss of her dad despite the fact that in the book, we never actually get to meet him. This was my third read through of this book and each time the story gets more and more emotional for me. This time around I was listening to the audio book at work with tears streaming down my face when Rachel tells Emma about the day her father died. I never have wanted a character to come back from the dead so badly. When Charles Stanley comes to see Emma I lost it. It is really such a clichéd thing to say, “I’d trade it all… to have him back.” But in this particular instance, I was feeling exactly the same way. I needed Emma’s father to be there for her and was simply heartbroken that he wasn’t. The words Charles Stanley spoke to Emma both comforted me and ripped my heart out:
This was never supposed to be your life, Emma. He wanted so much more for you, and I believe he would be happy to know that you will finally get it.”
So in the end, I was both exhilarated and heartbroken. Jonathan is so intense and almost too much. Evan is so perfect for Emma and yet Emma is too broken to do anything but self-destruct and break others in the process. Evan tries to get through to Emma, telling her:
We can contemplate the meaning of your life all you want, but know that you’re my meaning…the reason behind just about everything I do and I would never want to change that.