All she wants is to hide away but love has found her.Reason to Breathe is the first book in a new New Adult trilogy by Rebecca Donovan and it is brilliant.
In a town where people worry about what they're seen in and who they're seen with, Emma Thomas doesn't want to be seen at all. She's more concerned with feigning perfection- which means pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises. Emma doesn't want anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is.
But when Emma unexpectedly finds love it challenges her to recognise her own worth, at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she's desperate to hide.
Emma Thomas lives with her aunt and uncle, Carole and George. Her father died and her mother is a useless alcoholic. People in town assume that Emma is very lucky to be looked after by her family but they have no idea that Emma's life is a living hell. When she can't be seen, Carol subjects Emma to systematic mental and physical abuse. The only person that knows is her best friend Sara, that is until Evan arrives in town. Emma is barely surviving so she knows she shouldn't have anything to do with him but she can't ignore her feelings even if it means risking everything.
I don't want to spoil the plot by explaining why Emma stays under her aunt's roof but suffice to say, she is a very brave and determined character. It is a little frustrating at times when she won't let people help her but it becomes easy to understand why she behaves the way she does.
Emma and Evan's relationship develops slowly due to her initial insistence that they should just be friends. It is fascinating to watch Emma react to Evan; other than Sara, no one has ever cared for her and no one has loved her as Evan does.
Carol is a vile character, the scenes of abuse are very detailed and I felt myself tense every time her name appeared. As a character, we don't really get to know her or why she has so much venom for Emma, perhaps we will discover more in the next book. Rebecca Donovan's writing is excellent, I think she will gain a huge Young Adult audience with this trilogy.
The next two books are called Barely Breathing and Out of Breath and I am really looking forward to continuing Emma's story.
Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book to review, Reason to Breathe is out now.