Kippa Picks: Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan Book Review

Kippa Picks is a segment of Novel Days where I highlight Kindle novels that have been Self Published. 

Warning: There will be SLIGHT spoilers in this post, as it is the sequel to Reason to Breathe.

Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life.

Rebecca Donovan has done it again, ladies and gentlemen. She never fails to plot her novels in such a way that readers will have no choice but to fall in love with everyone involved, break as they fall, and scream, "No!!!!!!," as it crescendos to an incredibly gut-wrenching cliff hanger.

Barely Breathing opens in the aftermath of Emma (Emily's) tragic experience with her Aunt. She now lives with her best friend Sara, and tries to start over with her incredibly supportive boyfriend, Evan. Emma takes on the opportunity to live with her mother for the first time since she was a child. Donovan has captured an abuse of a different sort in a way that is that is unsettling, and heartbreaking, but realistic. As I stated earlier, it is impossible not to feel for every single character in this novel, even Emma's mother, Rachel, who has succumbed to various rejections in a self destructive manner that leaves all those who have open themselves to help her at risk. Donovan further mixes the plot up a bit by the introduction of a new character, Jonathan, Rachel's proposed love interest, who grows closer to Emma than the two of them were prepared for. Jonathan is very intriguing, and easy to trust, which may prove to be wonderful, or regretful. In the midst of everything else happening, I found myself wanting to peel back his layers to understand his journey.

Once again, Donovan has a magic with characterization that is entirely believable. Nothing ever seems overdone, or underwhelming, but just right in leu of the circumstances. I found myself wanting to get frustrated with Emma towards the end of the novel (for reason's you'll understand when you read), but I couldn't even blame her. Sara, Emma's best friend, is also very much the supportive friend, and sister, jumping into the trenches when Emma needs her most. She even finds time for bits of romance on her own, which I was definitely excited for! can't help but fall in love with him within his first few words. Donovan brings to light the challenge/risks he faces in being with Emma, how her actions affect his own, and his family. It was great to observe these challenges as they made me further relate to his character, and fall more for his patience and tenderness towards Emma.

The ending had me screaming in a crowded train car. In that moment, I didn't know whose side to take, or how even to speculate what could happen next. There is one person I felt so heartbroken over, and you'll find out...when you get to that place in the novel!

Barely Breathing is pretty much everything I love in a novel, realistic drama, heartfelt vulnerability, and even a  bit of fun/comedy. It will take you, as cliche as this sounds, on an emotional roller coaster, send you hurling towards the edge, and then leave you gasping for the next installement (which Ms. Donovan is hard at work on called, Out of Breath!).

I give Barely Breathing 5 out of 5 cups of Irish Breakfast Tea (this book deserves a stronger brew).

1 comment:

  1. I bought the first one of these on your recommendation, but haven't read it yet. It sounds like the time is drawing close though!

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