Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Reason to Breathe (Breathing, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Reason To Breathe (The Breathing Series, #1)

Publisher: Skyscrape
Publishing Date: June 4, 2013
Paperback: 377 pages

Rating:  4 stars


“No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?”

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises – not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth – but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope.


This is a young adult book. Its very well written. It will make you cry, laugh, smile and it will generate feelings of anger. It’s a book about a teenager named Emma. Her father died as a child and her mother is a drunk. Therefore, she is forced to live with her aunt and uncle who already have two much younger children. Her Aunt abuses her every chance she can. Her uncle is oblivious. She’s a beautiful girl who is best friends with the most popular girl in school. No one knows of her home life and her best friend, Sara, suspects but never pushes too hard and is always there for her.

Emma always hid behind her books and homework in school. She tried her best to go unnoticed. Until Evan Matthews comes along and breaks her out of her shell and makes her want to have a better life. Now, to avoid any spoilers I will end on this…this book will guide you thorough the journey of Emma’s love life, and her home life. Will she ever escape the wrath of her aunt or will she die trying to live?


Favorite Scene:

“Still not doing a very good job fading,” his voice said from behind me.

The paintbrush froze in my hand mid-stroke and started shaking. My heart stopped in my chest. I didn’t know if I could turn around to face him.

I forced my legs to swing around to the other side of the stool.

“Hi.” He smiled. My heart released a brief flutter.

“Hi,” I whispered, forcing myself to breathe.

“When you weren’t in the cafe, I figured you’d either be here or the Journalism room.”

I could only nod, searching for my voice.

“What are you doing here?” I forced the words from my mouth. My question was barely audible since I still wasn’t breathing properly.

“Looking for you,” he answered with his familiar grin. My heart picked up its pace, filling my cheeks with a rush of color. All I could do was stare into his blue eyes, afraid that if I looked away, he’d be gone. Please convince me I wasn’t hallucinating.

“Sorry to hear that the basketball team lost in the semi’s,” he offered casually. He’s talking about basketball? I definitely wasn’t hallucinating.

“Thanks,” I said, forcing my lips to resemble a smile. Come on brain, don’t fail me now – say something!

“Not sure what to say, huh?” He smirked, amused by my inability to form a cohesive sentence.

“I’m glad I can…” I threw my hands in the air, forgetting that I had a paintbrush in my grasp, the green paint flung across his grey t-shirt. He looked down at the streak with wide eyes. I held my breath, pressing my lips together. A stifled laugh escaped from behind my pursed lips. Then I started laughing harder.

“That’s funny, huh?” I bit my lower lip, still smiling. “Let’s see if you think this funny.” He leaned over my table and rubbed blue paint on his hands. Realizing his intention, I jumped off the stool to escape retaliation.

“Evan, don’t,” I pleaded.

I rounded the corner toward the dark room when he caught me around the waist, leaving blue hand prints on my shirt. When he grabbed me, he didn’t let go. Evan turned me to face him. Still smiling, I connected with his blue eyes, unaware he was pulling me closer. Just before I registered what was happening, my heart ignited, fluttering frantically. My head swirled in a rush. He placed his damp hand on my cheek and leaned down toward me.

A paralyzing charge flashed through my body when his firm lips touched mine. I inhaled his clean scent, allowing the tingling to run through my head. When he slowly pulled away, his eyes searched mine cautiously. I blinked through the buzz, trying to steady myself.

“Emma?” Ms. Mier’s voice rang from around the corner.

Evan raised his eyebrows in surprise then slipped by me, toward the dark room. I attempted to sober up before responding.

“Hi, Ms. Mier,” my voice cracked, stepping around the corner to meet her. My face was hot with embarrassment.

“Oh, Hi,” she said with a smile of surprise. With the smile still lingering, she gathered some papers from her desk. “I needed to get a few things. Could you please lock up when you leave today?”

“Sure,” I agreed quickly.

She smiled wider.

“That’s a good color on you,” she acknowledged.

My face grew even hotter, if that was possible. I looked down at the hand prints on my white shirt.

“No, the red I mean.”

My eyes widened. I watched her walk to the door and turn the lock.

Before closing the door behind her, she glanced at me and said, “Tell Mr. Mathews I said welcome back.”

I nearly fell over. I stood there for a moment, uncertain what to do next. I decided not to think about it anymore and to do what I should have done three months ago.

I walked into the dark room. Evan was drying his hands next to the sink. I closed the door behind me and leaned against it, unable to move. He threw the paper towel in the basket and looked up, hesitating for a second.

My chest moved with an exaggerated breath. My heart beat frantically against my shirt. He read exactly what I wanted him to in my widened eyes and stepped toward me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and he pulled me into him. I stood on my toes, extending myself to find him. He held me closer as his lips parted, and I felt the warmth of his breath. My heart released a surge that caught my breath when I felt his soft tongue. His lips were firm but gentle, pressed against mine in a slow, breathless rhythm. Tiny sparks flew through my head and down my spine – my legs trembled beneath me.

I lowered my head to his chest before my legs gave out. He kept his arms wrapped around me, resting his chin on the top of my head, while I listened to his accelerated heartbeat and deep breaths. I wiped an escaped tear from my eye, trying to remember how to breathe.

“That was worth waiting for,” he whispered and then added with sarcasm, “Missed me, huh?”

I looked up at his perfect smile and replied with a smirk, “I survived.”

“I heard.”

I pulled away and eyed him suspiciously.

“I still have friends here.” He shrugged. Just then, the bell rang, declaring the end of the school day. “What do you want to do? Do you have to go home?”

“I’m actually staying over at Sara’s tonight.”

“You are?” Evan confirmed, raising his eyebrows with a deliberate grin. “Do you think Sara will mind if I kidnap you for a couple of hours?” He casually leaned against the doorway, as I went to the sink to scrub his hand print from my face.

My heart stuttered.

“Um, I think she’ll be fine,” I replied, turning to face him. “What are you thinking?”

“We have to talk. I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to be welcomed back, but I have some things I need to say before there are any more misunderstandings.”

I winced. Couldn’t we have left it at the perfect welcome? My stomach twisted, fearful of what he needed to say. I could only imagine; although it couldn’t be worse than what I’d been saying to myself since he left.

“So, you’re back?” I confirmed cautiously.

“Yeah,” he grinned. “We’ll talk about it.”

“Great,” I huffed, zipping my sweatshirt to conceal the blue hand prints and smear of green paint.

Evan laughed. “Don’t be so nervous. I’m here, right?” He grabbed my hand, the warmth from his touch spread up my arm.

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Posted on April 10, 2014, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you Lucy. I have this series on my pile and it looks really good but also sounds like a tough read. Appreciate your review … need to get this moved up on the list!

  2. Not a tough read at all! Great book, solid story line. Give it a go 🙂

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