Review: Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan


Out of Breath (Breathing #3) by Rebecca Donovan
Contemporary / New Adult
Skyscape (July 2, 2013)

Rating: C+
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Emma Thomas – Incredibly Broken, Soccer Player, Pre-Med 
Hero: Evan Matthews – Savior, Surfer, Photographer






I waited with baited breath until this story came out…

Out of Breath is the long awaited conclusion to the dark, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and emotionally intense Breathing trilogy. At the end of Barely Breathing, Emma Thomas left home suddenly after a lot of explosive drama went down. She left everyone she loved behind with no explanation, including her boyfriend, Evan Matthews. It’s now been two years. She’s pre-med and a sophomore at Stanford University.

Emma has been through so much in her life. She’s survived her father’s death, an alcoholic mother - who is mentally unstable and blames Emma for her father’s death, a mentally and physically abusive aunt, almost dying, and now she’s lost Evan. She used to be focused and content, working really hard to not let her broken life consume her. It’s not working anymore. She loathes herself. The guilt is eating at her heart and soul. Her anger and despair consumes her. She has reached an all-time low. Leaving Evan behind left a gaping hole in her heart. She’s just going through the motions, not feeling anything, and living in a shell of her former self. She needs forgiveness to move on. Having felt nothing but numbness for so long makes her want to do extreme things that are self-destructive. She wants to feel something, anything so she can breathe again.

Emma has a great support system in a group of girlfriends, who are also her roommates. I think if it wasn’t for this group of girls, Emma would have given up by now. Their friendship helped keep her head above water. It's just unfortunate they had to coddle her so much. Emma, at times, seemed beyond reach and too self-absorbed in her issues. Which makes me grateful these girls were part of the story. Some of the best parts were with Emma’s girlfriends and also Evan’s friends. I especially loved all of the moments with Sarah, Emma’s loyal best friend. Sarah is light to Emma’s dark. Sarah is good for Emma.

And then there is Cole, the new man in Emma's life. He makes her laugh and smile. He brings a little light into her life. Sort of. She keeps him at arm’s length and refuses to commit to him. Cole was a temporary solution to her problems just so she could feel something. She warns him to not get too close or he will get hurt. I felt for Cole. I knew that he was headed into the danger zone with Emma. I hate that I actually started to like Cole because I knew he wouldn’t be around for long.

As though Emma didn't have enough tragedy in her life, the blows keep on coming. Emma is forced to go home and face more pain and sorrow that makes the gaping hole in her heart wider. And, on top of that, she comes face to face with Evan for the first time in two years. The boy she loves more than anything and left behind without an explanation.

Evan is the heart of this book. I adore everything about him. Evan’s back in Emma’s life and he wants, no - scratch that, NEEDS answers. He ends up in California with Emma and I wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved to have him in the picture finally or to tell him to run away as fast as possible. I didn't want to see him get hurt again. But he never got over Emma. She’s his kryptonite. Evan claims he needs closure from Emma for him to move forward. That’s what he keeps telling himself, but the truth is… he loves her. He wants to be with her. And the only way for them to move on and be together is for them to be open and honest with each other. No more secrets. When the air is clear of all secrets, then the forgiving can start, and they can start over with a new beginning.

“This was just the beginning of our healing. Of being forgiven. I knew I would struggle with it at times, and feel like I was fighting for every breath. I just had to remember, there was always a choice. And I chose to live. I chose to love. I chose to breathe.”

This story, this entire trilogy, is emotionally exhausting. My heart ached for Emma and Evan. The writing is really good, but the storyline was much darker and edgier than I had expected – which left me with mixed emotions. I liked Emma, but I hated her thought process. I hated how depressing she was. I wanted to shake the shit out of her. Tell her to get the hell over herself and freaking move on already! I had high hopes that Emma would find a way to mend herself after two years. I wanted to see a little bit of character growth. Emma put me in angst overload. I honestly didn’t expect for her to regress further into despair and depression and have so many 'woe is me' moments. And don’t get me started on the whole Jonathan subject either. Ugh.

Buuuut, on the other hand, I do have compassion and empathy for Emma. She's experienced so much tragedy that it has defined her life for a long time. She’s an incredibly broken person because of it. I just… I just don’t know! I’m pulling my hair trying to express my feelings. I keep wavering back and forth on my thoughts and feelings about this book – which is affecting how I want to rate this book. I loved it and I hated it. I will say that the story does get better when Evan came into the picture. His presence helps Emma find her way back to herself. The best part of this book, besides Evan, is when Emma and Evan finally start to rekindle their relationship. Their journey back to each other was a tough and long road, but they do get there. Thank goodness for happy endings.

P.S. Can we PLEASE get a better epilogue? After everything this series has put us through, we could at least have been given an epilogue that gave us a more satisfying ending to Emma and Evan’s story.


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