Customer Reviews for

Reason to Breathe

Average Rating 4.5
( 454 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(345)

4 Star

(63)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(16)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 83 people found this review helpful.

An Intoxicating Combination of Danger and Romance

Some days Emma is thrilled to be alive. Some days she struggles to find a reason to breathe.

Emma Thomas is every parent's dream. She's an excellent student. She does her chores without complaint and helps with the younger kids at home. She's a star athlete and ...
Some days Emma is thrilled to be alive. Some days she struggles to find a reason to breathe.

Emma Thomas is every parent's dream. She's an excellent student. She does her chores without complaint and helps with the younger kids at home. She's a star athlete and a talented artist. Her best friend, Sara, is one of the most popular girls in school. So why then does she live her life in a perpetual state of fear? Emma has a dark secret about which no one, not even Sara, knows the truth. Emma is not looking for someone to rescue her. She keeps a safe distance from those around her, never wanting anyone to get close enough to discover what she's hiding. She is barely coping with the terror, but telling someone the truth would have devastating consequences.
Emma's plan is simple: survive the remainder of high school, go to college and never come back, stay "under the radar" at all costs. Emma lives her life virtually undetected by most of the people around her, or so she thinks until Evan Mathews comes along. Evan not only sees the invisible girl, he boldly pursues her, even though her defenses are numerous and fierce. Emma finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, but letting her guard down could mean losing more than she's willing to risk. She is faced with a choice between what she wants and what she believes is best. In her mind they are two completely different things. The escalating danger makes it that much harder to decide. Should she risk everything to find the happiness she never expected or stay safe in the stronghold of secrecy she's been building for so long?
Rebecca Donovan is an enormously talented storyteller, and I'm not just saying that because she let me view this novel in its infancy. When she first asked me to read her work, I was nervous. I'm a fairly critical reader, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. But there was absolutely no reason to worry because I was completely engrossed in the story after reading the first few pages.
The story is an intense page turner from start to finish. Reason to Breathe is one of those rare stories where the love story is just as gripping as the danger. The reader wants so badly for Emma to find happiness. She's been denied any kind of love for so long, and Evan seems like the perfect person to offer that chance. But the reader also wants Emma to survive the story unscathed, and it quickly becomes clear that it will be next to impossible for Emma to have both happiness and safety.
The antagonist in this story is so well written that the reader is put on edge by the malicious character's mere presence on the page. The main characters (and even some of the minor ones) are so consistent, so well thought out; they feel as if they're people you know. You could predict what they would do in a given situation. I was particularly drawn to the friendship between Emma and Sara. It feels very real, and it demonstrates the yin and yang connection that so many best friends have. It was very easy to believe in their bond; the two girls complement each other perfectly.
One criticism I often have of teen books written in first person is that they don't really feel like a teen is the narrator. That is not the case with Reason to Breathe. I felt I was very much inside Emma's head. She second guesses herself. Sometimes she reads people incorrectly, and she misjudges the situations she's in fairly often. I could see things coming that she perhaps

posted by Nerd_Light_Books on June 16, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Anonymous

This book was geared more towards teenage reading. It was sooo chatty that I found myself skipping pages. Also, why did Emily let herself be used as a punching bag. There was help out there for her, but she felt she would ruin the lives of the two children, who weren...
This book was geared more towards teenage reading. It was sooo chatty that I found myself skipping pages. Also, why did Emily let herself be used as a punching bag. There was help out there for her, but she felt she would ruin the lives of the two children, who weren't her responsibility if word of her abuse were known. She wasn't a child, she was old enough to know that what was being done to her was wrong and that Carol clearly had some serious mental issues. So in the end it wasn't Emily who destroyed the family but the person who feared it most. The author left me wondering how the story ended. It ended quite abruptly and left me wondering. I hate when this happens, I like closure to my stories.

posted by 8429876 on July 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Although the central character is engaging, the story just doesn

    Although the central character is engaging, the story just doesn't ring true. Her stepmother always is able to surprise her and beat her to a pulp. Again and again. For a 4.0 student that's a slow learning curve. She stays in the abusive situation to protect two younger children. Are we asked to believe that a bright girl wouldn't have researched abuse and found that it would most probably be transferred to the younger children once she was gone? I question the character of the boyfriend. He seems to be too good to be true but at the same time ineffectual. For me the final straw was that never, ever did Emma fight back although she is a trained athlete in competitive sports. The ending isn't, you must buy the next book to find out what happened. I really resent that kind of manipulation of the reader. I believe a story ought to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This goes on and on like a runny nose.




    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Too much info

    This book would be great if it wasnt for all the useless information that is given. I found myself skipping over parts because they where not important to the story. And i had to make myself finish the book. I didnt get hooked like i thought i would. I do not think ill be reading the 2nd book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    U

    Hello

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Only Okay.

    I gave this book two stars because it was truly OK. Not a bad book, but also not a fantastic one.

    As I was reading it, I couldn't help but wonder if Donovan was writing this book from experience. So many of the abusive scenes were gritty in their clarity. The dilemma facing the main character seems far fetched even annoying at times, but I could understand the view point from which it was being written. However, just because I understood it doesn't mean the book was better because of it.

    The further along I read the realism Donovan wrote into the characters and situations really struck me. Positively, it was refreshing to read about real life issues in a genera saturated with paranormal romance. (<i>Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed one or two of these books, but there are just so many now.</i>)

    On the downside, it does need a little editing, but not in the spelling and punctuation department. Editing of scenes. <b>If we read the character living through a situation, is it really necessary to read a recap telling with the best friend?</b> I feel if Donovan had been a little more selective in which scenes were told in action and which through the retelling to a friend would have eliminated the redundancy.

    This simple act of selection would have improved my rating of this book. The tempo of the book would have been a faster and I would have looked forward to turning the page rather than just curious how it was going to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Undecided

    This book was just okay. I read the entire thing expecting the ending to be much better, I was let down. Still cannot decide if it was worth the time to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Anonymous

    Overall a good book but it had a really disturbing ending that ruined the book for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Oh boy

    I know I'm supposed to be feeling really bad a sympathetic towards this girl but its just been cringe after cringe for me. The characters, how the plot is going....it just doesn't so it for me. I've rolled my eyes about 20 times in the 90 pages I've read and I just can't bear to read anymore. Really wish I could take back those $5. This book wasn't it for me. It s,looks like it could be great, but nope..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Completely depressing

    I gave this book a 2 because it was one of the most depressing books I have ever read. I was so upset at the end of it that I had trouble sleeping. I don't think I will ever read another book by this author because of that. While I understand that the story can be true of what happens in real life, I don't want to read something that depresses me. I truly wish the author had given it a different ending.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Really Young adult fiction

    Had great potential, but not an adult read. I really thought it would take off as the premise, plot were excellent... but it just didn't develop as I hoped.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Read this because it was recommended after reading beautiful disaster

    I couldn't get into this book. I found myself not really caring about the characters or the dialogue. I skimmed nearly the whole second half. I will not be reading the sequel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Had never read one of her books before, but let me tell you, I couldn't put it down. In fact after I finished it(5 minutes)I was on line buying the next book. Great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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