Book Review – Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan

by Maryse on May 9, 2012 · 8 comments

in My Book Reviews

Barely Breathing (The Breathing Series, #2)
*SLIGHT* Spoiler alert, but only for those who haven’t read book #1 (Reason to Breathe). Not really any spoilers BUT if you haven’t even read book #1, stay away from this review altogether, and go experience that one first (if you’re up to it. It will leave you an emotional wreck). I’m warning you, you will feel spent after reading it, but you’ll badly want to read #2 once you’re done. Here’s my review of #1.

And if you already read #1 you sort of know what this story is about, so this review will be fine for you. I will only include a very light synopsis, so you can enjoy the surprises and reveals as they come. So mums the word with me, here.

Wonderful second installment to this series. Wonderful!! And while it touches on some very heartfelt and troubled issues, it is very different from book #1. The tone, the characters, the writing, all familiar, but the story itself, much different yet just as engrossing. In fact, I didn’t struggle as much with this one, despite there being some difficult situations and scenes in it, too.

It was overall an easier read, on a more “familiar/comfort” level, despite Emma’s very difficult healing process, with some big surprises along the way…

My mom sent me a quick email today after finishing book #1:

Maryse’s mom: I’m done with book 1……………….. wow! what a cliffhanger… Welllll I guess I’m not as strong as you…. no wailing…. but definitely tears!!!!!

Maryse: I just finished #2

Maryse’s mom: Will I like it????…. I hope it ends well…. even though I will still want to read it ‘cause I’m too far gone… I need to know!

Maryse: Yes but it’s very different. More “normal” like a YA romance book might be (but with angst, and some nice romantic intensity and all that). Her re-development, her traumas and fears that still plague her, her trying to be “normal” and have a normal life… but. Her past comes back to haunt her in a few different forms.  She’s plagued by her terrors, so it definitely messes with her “normal “life”.

A different kind of heartache in this, but still plenty of moments that will have you VERY angry. Does that say too much? There are surprises.

Maryse’s mom: no you didn’t say too much… I can’t wait to read it.

And it’s true. There are plenty of growl worthy moments. The astonished, “OH NO she didn’t!” kind… and then the “Oh NO he didn’t!!” kind, too. My reacting like that is my favorite, when reading. He? She? I won’t say exactly who (or what) they did (at one point or another, they were all guilty of making me angry at them ;) )… but all I can say was grrrrrrrrrr!!!! This book is an emotional roller coaster of fun and angst. Awwww I shouldn’t have fun when other people are having angst-y episodes, but I just can’t help it!! I felt it. The good moments, the tender moments, the fun moments, and especially the growl worthy moments!!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Barely Breathing is making a mess of me, but in a totally different way. Ohhhhhh I’m so mad. Grrrrrrrr. But I’m having fun reading it anyway.

Jacqui: I’m at 76% .im on a rollercoaster ride, cry one minute then get mad the next. this book is so good. lol

Patricia: Trust me your puncher urges will reappear … With a vengeance

Sali: omg babe i totally threw my ipad across the room at a few spots !!!!!BB is a totally different ride to RTB …..r u ok ????? just breath thru those bits …..thats all the advice i have lol

Sabrina: Can’t wait to hear what you think when your done — haven’t felt that way about a book since crows row,

Yvette: Reading barely breathing now and loving it!!!!

Jamie: I am telling you, that Rebecca Donovan is the master of emotional manipulation!!! I was all over the place reading that book.

Maryse’s Book Blog: Ok I finished it at 2:30am. Wow! That was completely different and soooo good. But at the same time… wow – I was exhausted after all that. Whoa.

So what’s it about? Well, you know how #1 ended? And the fact that there is a #2 must mean that Emma survives that last ordeal. She does. And as laws would have it, she finally is relieved of Carol.

Nothing looks the same anymore. Nothing feels the same. I’m not even sure how to explain this to Sara and Evan. I don’t know if they’d understand. I’m not sure I do.

She wanted me dead.

THAT B%*$h!!

The town exploded with news of the attempted murder, and you can only imagine what it was like to return to school, or to be seen anywhere in Weslyn. Whispers. Pointing. Eyes following me everywhere. I’ve become the morbid celebrity – the girl who survived death.

But Emma’s torment doesn’t end with Carol’s arrest. Being an abuse victim means she is tormented by nightmares.

I keep telling myself that she’s gone. She’s in prison where she can stay for as long as forever, as far as I’m concerned. But I don’t feel safe. Especially when I close my eyes each night and she’s right there waiting for me.

And even awake, she is haunted. Every shadow, every floorboard creek has her jumpy, and integrating as a normal teen in society is not an easy task when you were never raised as a normal teen.

Luckily Emma is surrounded by loving friends, and their families. Mostly. Apparently a few have some prejudices, but I digress. That is yet another growl-worthy moment for you to contend with. But remember how her mother was coming around, trying to get back in Emma’s life?

While I was in the darkest depths of hell, my mother had been traveling, drinking, and living a carefree life. I wanted to throw up just thinking about it. She never once mentioned leaving me, or my time with Carol and George and what they did to me. It was as if that time never happened, and we were starting anew – with a big black hole in between. I guess I was having a hard time moving past it.

This is the big story here (not the only story, but a HUGE part). And what a story it is. Emma’s real life troubles did not necessarily end with Carol being removed as her caretaker, and as she forges into her future, she uncovers many truths about her origins. She encounters serious new problems that disrupt her current life and might affect her future. But these “new” problems certainly affected her past. Answers are revealed but do they bring her closure? I’ll let you find out.

Oh, and … there’s a new and very important character introduced and OMG this could change everything.

And on that note, I’ll reveal one little tidbit. The last line in the book… the very last line before there is nothing left to read… gave me goosebumps. And that is not a spoiler but just an indication of how much I enjoyed the book, and how much I am anticipating #3.

Sali: ooohhh mate i was soooo emotionally drained !!! i was relieved when it was over lol …omg i totally freakin’ loved it tho & the end ROCKED MY WORLD i luv the way Rebecca ends her book …. we’re in for an awesome ride in book 3 !!!

Sali, my thoughts exactly…

4 stars!

For those who have a need to discuss both books in their entirety (spoilers and everything) we’ve set up a discussion for it already in progress: http://talk.maryse.net/threads/reason-to-breathe-barely-breathing-discussion.112/#post-2512 (join us!!)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina June 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM

I find Jonathan has much in common with Gideon from Bared to You… They’re both very damaged.

Tina June 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Ok, Jonathan’s a little obsessed with her, but she’s the only one that gets him…. Anyway, I’m really hurting for him, her, and Evan.

Tiffany July 22, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Can anyone explain Evan’s dissappearance from Art class due to the hammer and nails art project? Maybe I missed something, but don’t think that was ever answered?

Maryse July 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

It had to do with the hammer and a bad memory… does that help?

Tiffany July 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Sorry, no… I don’t remember him having any issues or memories with a hammer in his past. THat’s why I’m so confused. BTW love your site. Lots of great book tips.

Maryse July 23, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Tiffany… (first – thank you!!!) and 2nd… come to this chat and I’ll go into detail: http://talk.maryse.net/threads/reason-to-breathe-barely-breathing-discussion.112/ (scroll through to the end and that’s where I’ll post the answer) :)

Susan October 1, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Do you know when the third book is coming out??

Maryse October 1, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Hi Susan!

She hasn’t announced the date as of yet, but she will be making her release date “announcement” at the end of this week!!

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