Thursday, 13 February 2014
Review: Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
Blurb: In a town 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, pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises. Emma doesn't want anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. When Emma unexpectedly finds love, it challenges her to recognize her own worth- but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she's desperate to hide.
What I thought: This book went very well with Eleanor & Park because of the whole complicated-home-life thing. If you like that kind of story, definitely read this. Rebecca Donovan tells it so well- it doesn't seem fake or imagined or exaggerated in any way. Maybe apart from the fact that Emma is supposed to have no money and no luxuries, and yet she has an iPod. Kinda odd.
But that was pretty much it for weird stuff. Emma was an amazing character. You got to know her gradually, throughout the book, and she's simultaneously this amazing, strong person and this poor girl going through this really awful thing and just trying to get by. She was so determined. I really liked her. She was so confused and desperate to do the right thing, but she was never sure what that was, and you just felt so sorry for her. So yeah, I loved Emma. And Sara, I thought she was awesome. Her character wasn't very detailed; she was just the popular girl who tried to help Emma and slept with a lot of guys. But she was pretty cool.
One of my favourite parts of this book was Evan. From a couple of reviews I've read, I think this is true for most people. He was so great, and their story was so sweet. I think what I liked most about him and Emma was that it felt natural. When they were first getting to know each other, and then after. Sometimes in books like this there's a massive jump between the stages of the main character's relationship, and it's completely different when they're together from when they're just getting to know each other. This wasn't like that (partly because of some complications that I WILL NOT MENTION).
So I loved the good people, and hated the bad people. Really hated. Rebecca Donovan wrote evil so well. The scenes where all this stuff happened were so vivid, you could feel the injustice and general awfulness of the situation, and the descriptions kept making me wince.
However, there were some things I didn't like besides the weirdness of Emma having an iPod. I read this book online (I know, I have sinned) and some of the grammar and spelling was terrible. I don't know if this is true for the physical book, but it really annoys me when that happens. Also, there were some parts that were very abrupt, which I didn't like. I kept wondering if she was dreaming, and when she was going to wake up, which kind of spoiled the scenes for me. Especially the end. Towards the conclusion, I was wondering how she was going to finish it, but I never expected that, and I think it could have been done better. It just felt a bit surreal, like there wasn't enough time to write a proper ending, so that was just stuck on the end. I know it's a trilogy, so I guess the story is concluded at the end of that, but I will not be reading it. It's not that I didn't enjoy this book, it's that what I enjoyed most about it was Emma's struggle and how she slowly opened up- and the other two books won't have that, although I'm sure they will be good too.
Overview: Whilst this book was very strong in the character and emotion department, I felt the story could have been paced better. It was very interesting, and explored a tricky subject very well, but there were definitely some areas that could have been improved. Overall, an enjoyable (although this maybe isn't the right word) but not particularly insightful read.