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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,103
  • 4 Stars
    543
  • 3 Stars
    243
  • 2 Stars
    101
  • 1 Stars
    100

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    1,098
  • 4 Stars
    467
  • 3 Stars
    173
  • 2 Stars
    64
  • 1 Stars
    48

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    993
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    444
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  • 2 Stars
    100
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    94
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Such a great story

If you could sum up Reason to Breathe in three words, what would they be?

Emotional, Romantic, Courageous

What was one of the most memorable moments of Reason to Breathe?

The very end. I don't want to spoil.

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

Both Evan and Emma were great, but I love Evan's devotion.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Evan just holding her even when he didn't fully understand.

Any additional comments?

This is just an emotional journey but I loved every minute of it.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Awesome

What about Kate Rudd’s performance did you like?

She did a great job with all the characters however she did an exceptional job conveying Carol's hatred and dissension towards Emma.

Any additional comments?

Wow! This is a very intense angst filled story. Be prepared to feel an array of emotions. I was totally emotionally drained by the end. The story contained true to life descriptions of what each character was feeling at the time. I could feel every single emotion! Truely a great story! Can't wait to read the next book.<br/>

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Cyndi
  • Michigan
  • 07-12-13

WOW....Just WOW!!!

I loved this book!!! I was almost breaking my Ipod by pushing the forward button when it ended! Thankful that I already purchased the 2nd book in this series so i didn't have to wait.

This is a very emotional story about a girl who spends her days trying to disappear in plain site until a new boy come into school and won't let her fade into the background. Slowly she starts getting more comfortable in her own skin and starts to find "reasons to breathe". Without giving away an hints about the ending....be prepared to be wrecked emotionally when this book is over.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Emotional Story - Well Written

This book was full of heart wrenching moments that made you gasp out loud. It also had a great story line that was a tad slow at times. The majority of the story takes place in the eyes of a junior in high school going through typical things that high school girls experience but also has some hidden secrets that are gut wrenching. Readers beware! The first book ends in a huge cliff hanger wanting you to read the second book immediately! The reader for this book is wonderful with a beautiful voice that carried the story well. Enjoy!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Young People-True Problem

What made the experience of listening to Reason to Breathe the most enjoyable?

The tight friendship that was shared between Emma and Sara.

What did you like best about this story?

I found that the topic of child abuse was very compelling. Emma was a stalwart young teen, who found the courage to survive under the hate, cruelty and pure evil of her Aunt Carol.

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

Emma was my favorite character as performed by Kate Rudd. Emma was brought to life through Kate Rudd. I saw her grow from a very insecure, fearful teen into a young girl who knew and now understood that she needed to leave the home of her Aunt Carol and Uncle George, in order to stay alive. She could no longer fade into the background, trying to hide herself away from her own existence. Emma was attempting to live as a ghost but her Aunt Carol would always bring her back to the reality that a ghost, she was not.

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

Yes, I did have an extreme reaction to this book. Although this book was not written for an adult, I did continue to the end. However, there were quite a few very descriptive scenes of abuse. I will not describe them here, but know that I felt emotions that I have rarely felt. The anger was over-the-top and flowed into a soul filled with hate. That is such a strong word, I know. However, I have no other word to describe the anguish I felt in my soul. And, yes, there were tears. Listening to the words of hate that spewed from Aunt Carol to Emma, such as whore, unimportant, better to have never been born or to have died when born, spawned tears. The many times that Emma was slapped or punched are too numerous to account for. Emma didn't invoke any reason to be hit on her back with a metal spoon, except to be seen by the evil that lived in the soul of her Aunt Carol.

Any additional comments?

I realize now that this book was written for the 11 to 13 age group. I know, in my heart, that not all but most children that age, wouldn't be able to understand what was happening in this book. I would truly hope not but who am I, there may very well be many children who comprehended the words with full understanding. Having said that, choosing topics to write about have intertwined into the issues that are confronting the masses of today's world. Jodi Picoult, would be the author of adult books who deals with today's issues. These books evoke very strong emotions in my soul. I wish the ending could actually be wrapped up in paper and tied with a bow and the world would carry on. However, knowing that not to be true only makes me hope for the impossible dream, that the world and its people could live in peace.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Tearjerker for sure! And a bit frustrating

This was a hard book for me to listen to and I had to stop and walk away several times. Not only is the subject matter difficult but the choices made by the main character (Emma) was difficult to believe. I just didn’t understand her indecision and wavering back and forth on taking some action in her life. For a smart girl who participated in so many sports and other activities I just couldn’t reconcile her behavior at this point. Emma made so many stupid decisions that it just became too frustrating.

I did enjoy the romance between her and Evan but it just wasn’t enough for me. Not to mention the ending is horrible! Another huge cliffhanger.

Can’t say I liked it or hated it, but I won’t be getting the sequel for this one.

27 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Tweetyct2
  • Phoenixville, PA, United States
  • 08-16-13

Tearjerker and heartrending but good to read

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

This book made me cried when I was reading about the abuse. It's sad to see how cruel Emma's aunt was.

Any additional comments?

This is a tear jerky and heartrending book. I couldn't believe how cruel one can be to another human being. Emma lost her father and was forced to live with her uncle and aunt b/c her mother was an alcoholic and was not able to take care of her. While she lived with her uncle, aunt and 2 little cousins, she was physically, mentally and emotionally abused by her aunt. Her uncle chose to turn a blind eye about the abused. Emma endured the abuse b/c she did not want her cousins to lose their mom. It showed that she was selfless. But by doing this, she enabled her aunt to keep doing it to her. As the book go on, I wondered how much more can Emma take. She was so strong. She did not let the abuse to get her down about life. Don't get me wrong, she felt down about life at times but she continued to get back up. In her own way to fight back, she did not let her uncle and aunt ruin her future. She did well in school and involved in many school sports and activities. I thought this was really smart of her. She realized that this was her way out.<br/><br/>Then came Evans. Evans was Emma's sunlight in her dark world. He slowly weed his way in to Emma's life whether she liked it or not. He gave her the reason to hope and be happy. Evans did not let Emma's securities or distrust b/c of her situation to deter him from falling in love with her. Because of her distrust and securities, Emma and Evans struggled in their relationship. <br/><br/>Everyone should have a Sara in her life. Sara is Emma bff. She would do anything for Emma including hiding the abuse. Sara is a spit fire who does not afraid to deal with things head on. She's the sounding board and confidant to Emma. Emma is lucky to have a friend like Sara.<br/><br/>This is a well written story and very sad. I hope Emma's journey will turn out well for her. I look forward to start the 2nd book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Worst pick ever!!

Would you try another book from Rebecca Donovan and/or Kate Rudd?

This book is written for a pre-teen girl. The narration was like a bad soap opera. The story was so uneventful and poorly written. This book makes the Twilight series look like a physics book

What was most disappointing about Rebecca Donovan’s story?

The entire thing was not for me!! The only reason I listened to it was because I didn't want to waste my money and not listen to the book

How could the performance have been better?

Diffrent story and narrator

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

Not for me

Any additional comments?

Pretty clear to me the target audience is 12-15 yr olds, wish it would just say that

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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what a disappointment

I struggled thru the poor writing hoping for at least a reprieve in the ending. What a disappointment on every front.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Janine
  • 01-11-14

Haunting - a must-read

A beautifully written heartbreaking story about a young woman fighting for her life.

It's one of those stories that will have you sobbing uncontrollably. You'll want to read book 2 but you'll also want to walk away from the gut wrenching ache.

There are so many books out there that have the potential to be great but the author isn't talented enough to raise it from the herd. This isn't one of them. The writing is superb - good enough to be considered a classic. Abuse is always tragic and Rebecca Donovan deals head on, no flinching. This novel should be a set work for high school kids.

The narrator is... There aren't enough superlatives. Kate Rudd is the perfect voice for this story. Very, very good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • 07-19-15

Brilliant book

Really gripping story, couldn't stop listening! Just downloaded book two!
The story was really interesting with lots of twists and turns and I can't wait to listen to book 2