By: Rebecca Donovan
Published: May 10, 2011
Source: Borrowed from snl Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
(Goodreads / Amazon)
"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?"MY REVIEW:
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.
Emma is living with her aunt and uncle and two small cousins, ever since the death of her Dad and her unfit alcoholic mother. As much sadness and ill treatment she suffers at "home" she is one determined young woman. She is very athletic playing soccer, basketball and running track and she has a 4.0 GPA all in the hopes of earning a full ride scholarship to a college in an effort to escape the people who are supposed to take care of her. She only has 1 friend - Sara - who she trusts and who knows most of her secrets. She doesn't date, mainly because she would never be allowed and it's in her comfort zone to really just fade into the background and not be noticed by anyone. Being noticed will lead to questions she can't and won't answer. That is until Evan Mathews moves to town. Befriending her, he pushes her out of her comfort zones, stretches her boundaries and helps her to experience more life than she knew it had to offer.
Perhaps it's because I had a lot of interruptions while reading the first half of this story and I had to put it down a lot, but I found the first half to be rather slow. There were enough bread crumbs to have me wanting to come back but it felt like not much was happening even when in the story weeks at a time go by.
Reading stories about the abuse or neglect of children always pains me and often times makes me sick to my stomach. And by children I mean those under the age of 18 who are still living at home with parents or guardians; those who are depending on adults to care for them in some way. The Goodreads summary talks about unspeakable cruelty. That really nails what goes on in this story. It will make your skin crawl and have you wanting to beat the crap out of some of these characters.
As much sadness as goes on in this story, there is a love story that develops and it's sweet and genuine. I very much enjoyed the "first love" feelings that Emma discovers. The book ends in a cliffhanger - so beware!
I smiled, recognizing he wasn't ready to give up trying to stretch my boundaries.
We were engaged in a very intricate dance of touching without touching, knowing without saying, and feeling without expressing.
"That was worth waiting for," he whispered...
Final Rating - 4 stars.