One Night Stand: Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan


Barely Breathing (The Breathing Series #2) by Rebecca Donovan
Contemporary / Mature YA
2012-06-14 (Rebecca Donovan)

Rating: B+
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Emma Thomas – Athletic, Smart, Broken 
Hero: Evan Matthews – Athletic, Photographer, Boyfriend 
Setting: Connecticut, USA



Barely Breathing is the second book in The Breathing series. It begins six months after the horrifying ending in Reason to Breathe. I’m one of the lucky readers that didn’t have to wait for this book to be released. I was able to dive right into Barely Breathing and wasn’t left hanging on a cliff for a year. I feel for all the readers who were left speechless, breathless, and probably angry with the WTF cliffhanger.

“Sometimes people hurt more than they can handle... And sometimes they don't know how to ask for help. They're so caught up in their own pain, they end up hurting everyone around them.”

Emma’s story is heartbreaking. She is a survivor of abuse. In Barely Breathing, we watch as she tries to move on from the pain and torment she experienced for so many years. Her years of abuse have skewed her perception on life. She struggles with teenage love, addiction of being abused, trust, anger, and facing her worst fear.

Emma has never had a relationship with her mother. So, Emma decides to give her a second chance and move in with her. I really tried to like Rachel but her reckless actions made me hate Rachel more and more as the story progressed. She’s manipulative, self-absorbed, and extremely hateful. The world is against her. She blames Emma for her father’s death and never ever apologizes for her actions. She lives in her own world and everyone revolves around her. I do believe that if Emma had not been abused for so many years, she would've been able to walk away from the situation sooner rather than try to fix her. It's painfully obvious that Emma thought if she could fix her, she would finally have a mother. Unfortunately, Rachel is unfixable and Emma had to find out the hard way.

While living with her mother, Emma becomes good friends with Jonathon, her mother’s younger boyfriend who also comes from an abusive home life. Jonathon and Emma become close friends after discovering they have a lot in common as survivors of abuse. This friendship annoyed me and made me feel uneasy the whole time. I tried to give Jonathon the benefit of the doubt but something about him just felt wrong the whole time. And because of Emma's bad decision to confide and trust Jonathon with her deep seeded issues and fears rather than trust Evan, it put a bad taste in my mouth. She never gave Evan the benefit of the doubt to try and understand what she'd been through until it was too late.

Emma's boyfriend Evan is a wonderful hero in this story. This friendship turn relationship is deep and intense. Evan is kind, caring, patient and very protective of Emma. He's made it clear that he wants to be with her and is willing to go to college at Stanford even though his father objects to the relationship and his college choice. I ached for Evan. He deserved so much more from Emma. He gave her his heart and soul – all of him. But in the end, Emma was always holding back. Never able to give herself fully to him no matter how much she loved him and he loved her.

While the story has a lot of angst and turmoil, there were sweet and happy moments between Evan and Emma. Especially a romantic scene in the woods. I love Sarah, Emma's BFF. She's fun, positive,caring, and loves Emma like a sister. These two have a wonderful, trusting relationship that is rare to find.

The ending was fast, intense, and very sad. I understood why Donovan ended the story the way she did simply because Emma needs time to heal. Time to pull herself together and find herself. I believe that once she has the chance to free herself from the hurt, anger, and pain she has felt for most of her life, she will be able to finally be able to move on from her past. My fingers are crossed that Evan and Emma will finally get their HEA.


Thoughts While Reading:



Comments moderated on posts older than 8 days.