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Reason to Breathe: Breathing, Book 1 | [Rebecca Donovan]

Reason to Breathe: Breathing, Book 1

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 - 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 - at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.
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Publisher's Summary

"This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. 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 - 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 - at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

One girl's story of unspeakable cruelty, life-changing love, and her precarious grasp of hope, Reason to Breathe is the first installment in the acclaimed Breathing Series.

©2013 Rebecca Donovan (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (989 )
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  •  
    Kate Matthews Sonora, CA, United States 07-11-13
    Kate Matthews Sonora, CA, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2011

    love to read, read a lot, mostly mysteries, historic fiction and a bit of sci-fi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Good Candidate for an Oprah's Pick"

    This book is more or less a your basic "Twilight" rip-off, with an ultra-perfect teen narrator whose angst is driven by the fact that she is the chosen victim of the psychopath in whose home she lives. Think of Harry Potter's dislikable relatives, wrap them in a few extra layers of cardboard and voila! you have the narrator's aunt and uncle. There are a lot of slow-moving teen love stories out there, some of which I liked much better, including "Twilight" and "Amongst Others". While I don't wish to trivialize the the type of abuse portrayed here, I also find that I don't especially want to read about it and I sure as heck don't want a lengthy, nasty, implausible scenario to be the final pay-off. It's a bit like watching a horror movie - you know darn well that there's not a teenager in the universe who would actually go into that basement after hearing that scary sound! In that case, the slapstick violence provides a vicarious thrill because you know it's just plain silly, but here, it's all just so painfully serious and endlessly dreary. Sorry, but for me, "endlessly awful" plots are simply not my favorite form of fiction.

    I got this title because I so loved Kate Rudd's narration of John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars" - She does a decent job here, but the dismal content and limited cast of characters doesn't give her much to work with. If you want a great listen, stick with Rudd and Green.

    I won't be listening to the rest of the trilogy.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lia Sutton, Australia 08-15-13
    Lia Sutton, Australia 08-15-13 Member Since 2009

    I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly Good"

    This book is a YA listen which is not my usual choice. I thought I would give it a try as the book was recommended by a friend and the ratings it has recieved.
    I really enjoyed this book though it was tough to read in parts due to the abuse that Emma suffered at the hands of her Aunt.

    I felt that the author dealt with abuse in a fairly realistic way, though thankfully I have never suffered myself I have had friends who did.

    I know some people felt that either Emma herself or one of her friends should have said something but it's not that easy.
    Her aunt had her believing that she was so worthless & she also loved her cousin's & didn't want them to have to grow up without their parents as she had done.
    And her best friend Sara did try to tell but Emma threatened to use info on her to stop her from doing so.

    Evan was a great love interest, as he was new to the school he didn't have any experience with Emma's ways over the years. Often we have a girl who claims not to know how beautiful she is or why anyone would have any interest in her (which is very annoying IMO) but in this case because of the mental abuse she receives from her aunt it is believable. I love that he never gives up on her when trying to get to know her no matter how many times she rebuffs him.

    On the downside I did find myself skimming on occasion as the author got overly descriptive in parts, it felt a bit like she was trying to fill out the book which I didn't feel was necessary.
    I also never really understand why her aunt hated her soooo much & why she reacted in such a brutal way to her without any previous history of being violent, I could have done with a bit of back story on this. Also a bit more on George, did he know what was happening, if so did he not care or did he not want to believe it could happen.

    If you find after you have read a few chapters that you are enjoying this book as much as I did, I would recommend you have book 2 Barely Breathing at the ready as this ends on a bitch of a cliffhanger.
    Kate Rudd was outstanding in the delivery of the story.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ezinwanyi Dallas, TX USA 05-06-14
    Ezinwanyi Dallas, TX USA 05-06-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A compelling story about secrets"

    I am so glad I kept going on this book. This is exactly why I don't DNF books. Once I got past the beginning, this book was gripping and so interesting.

    Emma Thomas had lived with her Uncle George and Aunt Carol since her father died in a car accident and her mother was a raging alcoholic. Emma was the star athlete at her school, exceling in soccer, basketball and track. She had an "A" grade point average, managed the school newspaper but her new home situation was less than ideal. For some unknown reason, her aunt Carol despised her and was abusive.
    So the perfect girl Emma, had a not-so-perfect secret that she had to keep everyone from finding out. So she kept everyone except best friend Sara at arms length.

    Sara also excelled at explaining away her bruises...until the new kid Evan Mathews began getting past her defenses. Evan took an interest in her, but he was also very observant. Emma knew that getting close to Evan would threaten the picture perfect image she created, but she couldn't stop the persistent Evan from getting her skin. Was her secret worth giving her first love? What was she willing to risk to be normal and happy?

    First of all, I will admit this book ended in a cliff hanger. So I had to buy book 2 audiobook immediately. There were a lot of questions that i didn't have answers to, but this book was such a gripping glimpse into the life of an abuse victim and the lies and fear.

    While I liked Emma, I loved Sara and Evan more. they were the real heroes in this story because I don't think there would be an Emma. Her home life had turned her into a shell. I didn't understand the root of the hate, so that is something I am hoping to find out in book 2. I am rooting so hard for Emma, but the silence is so powerful and her fear of retribution was definitely warranted. Sara and Evan were great support and I hope they give Emma the strength to break her silence.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Briana 03-04-14
    Briana 03-04-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NO TEENS "I" KNOW..."
    Would you try another book from Rebecca Donovan and/or Kate Rudd?

    I would be willing to give them a second chance. Narration on this book was HORRIBLY OVERLY DRAMATIC and sappy. Reminded me of a BAD daytime drama.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something from the "Best Seller" list. I find you can't go wrong with those


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narration could have been a LOT LESS dramatic. It was so dramatic, it was boring. She was trying waaaay too hard


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes. It shines a spotlight on abuse as well as teen promiscuity and drinking


    Any additional comments?

    This could have been a good opener had the writer remained vigilant and focused on the tale of abuse in the home. Instead, she strayed into the ALWAYS OVERLY DRAMATIC, "LIFE SUCKS", "WOE IS ME", "MY HORMONES ARE RAGING" life of teens.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 02-19-14
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 02-19-14 Member Since 2013

    I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring, annoying and unbelievable"

    I say boring because unless you're 16 or there about it's difficult to put up with the teenage environment of this story, language, high school scenarios etc.. I also mention unbelievable because Em's reason for putting up with the abusive step Mom is highly unrealistic. This is one of the few books I'm returning for a full refund. I must also say the incredible amount of high ratings is very suspicious to say the least. Don't be fooled this is not a very good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol D. Florida 02-05-14
    Carol D. Florida 02-05-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible started me reading fiction again. What a treat to have professional actors narrating a book I may not have had the time to "read".

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    "Very depressing!"

    I wouldn't recommend this book to teens or adults. The story was full of contradictory messages and mixed signals. In the end (which I wish I hadn't read) this book is a real downer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DEITRA APO, AE, United States 01-25-14
    DEITRA APO, AE, United States 01-25-14 Member Since 2009

    I am a retired Army veteran and love to read. I like murder mystery, but enjoy nonfiction. I am a long time Star Trek fan.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't wait to read next book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Reason to Breathe to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because you get a real feel for the characters. When I read I imagine certain actors and actresses for each character but audio gives their roles more depth.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sarah, she is a true friend. Whether she was giving on what to wear, on love or life she was always there...well almost always there for Emma.


    Which character – as performed by Kate Rudd – was your favorite?

    Jay he was such a lovable jerk, but whenever he spoke I knew it was him


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Life is for loving and living


    Any additional comments?

    Many serious topics were discussed. In the movie version this book would probably be rated a PG 13. Even though many of the topics are hard to discuss, they are too serious not to discuss with the youth of today. Abuse is real! Teacher, Counselors, and Doctors to name a few, are trained to observe the signs of abuse. The abusers have trained and honed the art of deception. The person being abused like Emma is often too afraid of life without the abuse.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S Mandel S. Calgary, Alberta Canada 08-25-13
    S Mandel S. Calgary, Alberta Canada 08-25-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "GREAT LISTEN. WOW"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Reason to Breathe to be better than the print version?

    I do love Audio books and this one was great.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Love when Evan first meet Emma. The sparks start flying.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The abuse from Carol made me so angry.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-23-13
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-23-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wonderful book for teens"
    Any additional comments?

    As a mother of teenagers, I find my children often ungrateful and excessively demanding in their wishes. This will be a great listen for teens that think they have it hard when they live a life of luxury. They can see how abuse exists and hoe other kids can cope with horrendous living circumstances and still try and find something to remain grateful about. A+

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Lotus, CA, United States 01-31-14
    Heather Lotus, CA, United States 01-31-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Reason to Read"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Privileged teenagers almost having sex, wearing pink sweaters and making awful choices about their lives and their friends' lives. And an awful ending, to boot!


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Probably not. I suppose she was fine though with a strong Midwestern accent for an east coast book.


    Did Reason to Breathe inspire you to do anything?

    Stop listening sooner.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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