Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Reason to Breath by Rebecca Donovan

Publisher: Penguin UK
Pages: 544
Released: 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5


Emma Thomson has a big secret, her best friend Sara knows a little bit about what’s going on, but Emma tries to not burden her with the details. Emma keeps her focus on school, sports, and extracurricular activities. When she goes home she has two adorable cousins, an uncle who barely notices she’s home, and an aunt who will beat her with anything she can get her hands on. Emma’s father has passed away, and her mother is not in her life. Her aunt Carol doesn’t hesitate to spew hateful comments at Emma every chance she gets. George has chosen to ignore the situation, and blame Emma for provoking Carol. The children don’t really know what is going on, and Emma doesn’t want to be the one to take away their mother. When Evan Matthews shows up at school, Emma is no longer invisible. When he starts paying attention to her, so do the others. Their attraction and friendship cause Emma to test her boundaries and put herself in further danger.


Reason to Breath is Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel, and she is incredibly talented. I refused to put this book down, and read every chance I could get. It’s impossible not to care about Emma, and not to feel her hurt. She’s tormented at home, counting down the days until she graduates and leaves home. She’s amazing at sports, they’re her way to escape, she’s sure she can win a full scholarship. Her aunt and uncle would never pay for school otherwise; they barely allow her to eat. Showering is timed, and whether she’s finished within five minutes or not, she must turn off the water. When the abuse begins to escalate, Emma begins pushing everyone away. They don’t understand her; she just wants to protect her young cousins.

Reason to Breath is full of suspense. I jumped right into reading the second book of the series, because I couldn’t wait. Normally, I don’t read a series back to back but I had to with this one. Donovan writes beautifully, skillfully enfolds the story and engages her readers.  I don’t want to give too much away. If you’re looking for a book that will have you fully engaged, emotionally attached and on the edge of your seat, you will need to read this book. Highly recommended! 


  1. I haven't heard of this - it sounds pretty tempting!

  2. Excellent review, Jennifer! This book is new to me.

  3. I love books that are hard to put down like that!!

  4. This one does sound emotionally effective at bringing you Emma's plight without overdoing it, so I am a little more than interested. I can't believe that the abuse is so rampant and goes unnoticed, but then again, maybe I can. What a great sounding story, and one that I must read. Incredible review today!