Reason to Breathe (Breathing Series)

Synopsis:

“This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. 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 unspeakable cruelty, life-changing love, and her precarious grasp of hope, Reason to Breathe is the first installment in the acclaimed Breathing Series.


The Phoenix’s Perspective

It was such an amazing story that I was left utterly breathless! I literally could not put it down that I ended up reading it all in one sitting. I don’t know how to even put into words how I feel about this book.  Reason to Breathe put me through a barrage of emotions – I had moments where I wanted to laugh, moments where I wanted to cry, even moments where I wished I could be a character in the book and hurt some very deserving people.

I was completely appalled at the behavior of the supposed “grown-ups” in this story. The amount of rage that one person could direct towards a child is unbelievable. As a mother, I couldn’t understand how this woman could be so loving towards her own children while being so violent towards another.  We’re not just talking turning off maternal instincts here — we’re talking alienating and humiliating a child while breaking them down mentally and physically.  I could feel every bruise given Emma by her aunt — it was like a small part of me broke each time and not just for the pain that Emma was going through but also for the fact that there are actually monsters like her aunt out there in the real world.  As if the physical abuse alone wasn’t enough to make me want to throw up, Emma is also surrounded by the ignorance of her uncle.  Perhaps ignorance is not the right thing to say – it’s as if her uncle lived under the idea of plausible deniability.  If he pretends it’s not really happening, then perhaps the problem of the abuse will disappear all on its own.  Or better yet, if he blames Emma and tells her to change, then maybe his wife will stop beating her.

Now I know this sounds like a horrible story to suggest reading, but the strength Emma has and the amount of love that she has for others is amazing in the face of such adversity. It is difficult for her to ever be herself because she cannot break the shell or others will find out her secret. Yet, she gives herself goals to focus on – ways to help her rationalize her suffering.  Then she meets Evan – someone who likes her just the way she is and allows her glimpses into who she truly is inside.  He helps her realize that goals don’t get her anywhere if she doesn’t have hope and love.  It is that hope and love that help Emma find ways of working through her darkest days.

The final chapter of Reason to Breathe is utterly amazing. I think I know how Emma’s story ended, but I am not sure. If I am right, I am not sure whether I am happy that she will never have to deal with it again or upset that I wasn’t given a happy ending. I was so glad to find out that this was just book one of a trilogy — I can still find out how the story ends and hope that those who deserve punishment are punished severely.


Would I add it to the library?

I have already purchased the other two books. I know that I have been randomly choosing books to help with variety, but I cannot just turn away from this series —– I need to know what happened!

 

Genre: Fiction – physical abuse, emotional abuse
ISBN: 9781477817148
Rating:  good

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