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.
“Six months ago, I was dead. My heart didn’t beat within my chest. Breath did not pass between my lips. Everything was gone, and I was dead.” - Emma
So, remember how after I read Reason to Breathe I said if I hadn’t already downloaded Barely Breathing, I would have lost my marbles? Well, guess what, y’all? I’M LOSING MY DAMN MARBLES!! The fact that there is no publication date for the third book is driving me crazy! Alright, alright…maybe I’m overreacting; let me compose myself real quick…
Whew. Let’s try this again. The cliffhanger from Reason to Breathe had me pulling this sequel up on my Nook faster than I could even comprehend what had just happened to Emma. Needless to say, I expected a lot of this novel and I was not disappointed. If anything, I was actually kind of shocked. I mean, Emma f*cking DIED in Reason to Breathe; how in holy hell can you make a sequel that is as good, or better (in my opinion), than that?! Well, apparently it’s possible because Rebecca Donovan did it.
Emma somehow survived the strangulation, Carol is locked away in prison, George took Leyla and Jack to live in Florida, and Emma’s mom is now back in her life claiming to be sober. Her best friend’s parents have assumed legal guardianship over her, and she’s trying harder to let Evan into a part of her life she never expected or wanted to share with him. While trying to appear okay to everyone around her, she attempts to thwart her all-too-real nightmares and come to terms with her past, but is faced with a whole other set of problems when she agrees to move in with her estranged, “sober” mother.
I really, really wanted to like Emma’s mom, Rachel; I really did. I had my hopes up that she really was sober, finally got her sh*t together, and realized that she wanted to get to know her daughter before it was too late. I wanted her and Emma to be able to fix things between them. My hopes were short lived, to say the least. Emma finally got away from the physical abuse at the hands of her aunt, only to be emotionally and verbally abused by her mother. I felt so awful for Emma, and yet every time her mother would drink too much and say hateful things to her, she would apologize the next day…and guess what? Emma forgave her. As much as I wanted to be upset with Emma for staying in her mother’s house after all she had done to her, I couldn’t. She thought all along she could fix her mom…that she could fix their relationship. Unfortunately, some people and some relationships aren’t fixable. The only positive thing in Rachel’s life, it seemed, was her young boyfriend, Jonathan.
Okay. I’m torn on how I feel about Jonathan. Sure, it’s super weird that he is closer to Emma’s age than her mother’s. Sure, it’s super weird that we find out her mother is apparently a cougar capable of snagging a super handsome 20-something year old. BUT…I just can’t get over the connection Emma and Jonathan have. I just can’t do it! Don’t get me wrong, I love Evan and Emma together but there is something between her and Jonathan that I just can’t shake. He’s the one who understands her nightmares; he is the one she is able to freely open up to about her past; he is the one she calls at night when she can’t sleep. They are bonded for very different reasons than her and Evan, so I’m still just not sure how I feel about the potential romantic relationship between them.
The cliffhanger in this book wasn’t as good as the first book, but it completely shocked me! I mean…I really don’t even know what to think at this point! Overall, I loved this book. I was expecting it to be a little lighter than Reason to Breathe, but it wasn’t…at all. If anything, it was just as dark but in a different way. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking; it gave me hope and then shattered it; it made me love and it made me hate. I’m waiting on pins and needles for the third book to be released because I am dying to know what happens to Emma and Evan…and hopefully Jonathan! I NEED SOME ANSWERS!