“Hold on to this life, Emma,” he whispered. “You’re so much stronger than you think you are.” Barely Breathing, by Rebecca Donovan

172998195 outta 5 +++ Stars!


Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life.

Yes, I am a HUGE fan of Rebecca Donovan’s Breathing Series – and Book #2: Barely Breathing DID NOT disappoint. Just when you think you can’t learn anymore – you can’t love Emma and Evan anymore – or cry anymore; you’re sooooooooooooo wrong!

If you haven’t read Book 1 Reason to Breath – DO NOT read any further!

Emma is finally free from the lies she’s held onto – about the abuse she suffered at the hand of her Aunt Carol. Carol is in prison – her husband took the children and moved to Florida to live with his mother. Emma has been living with Sara and her family, trying to heal from the whole ordeal with Carol both physically and emotionally. She and Evan are still together and no longer have to sneak around. Emma is free to have a social life now – outside of school – and without fear.

Just when things seem to be going good – in walks Rachel, Emma’s mother.

Rachel wants a second chance, try to make amends to Emma for leaving her with her aunt and uncle, and all the abuse she had to suffer because of it. She means well – and it seems that Emma is available to her – she’s willing to try and make their relationship work, but when Emma moves in she slowly starts to realize Rachel’s issues are still VERY much there. She’s drinking – heavily – and Emma suspects more, as random men are in and out of the house, Emma doesn’t really feel safe in the house she’s supposed to call home.

Rachel starts dating Jonathan, a younger guy in his 20’s who works at the same firm she does. Jonathan becomes a fixture in their lives, spending the night and bonding with Emma when neither of them can sleep late at night. Emma can tell that Jonathan is haunted by something in his past, but she doesn’t pry – but she finds herself opening up to him in a way she hasn’t allowed herself to do with Evan – which is starting to throw a massive wrench in their relationship; in walk Analise. A new girl in school, whose parents are befriend by Evan’s mother and father – leaving Evan to show her the ropes at her new school. She’s obviously crushing on Evan, who wouldn’t right? And it’s grating on everyone’s nerves.

But you can’t blame the guy for being nice – and honestly, looking for someone whose open to him. If there’s anything Emma should have learned from the time living with Carol, is that secrets are-no-good. She can’t hide things like she did before – it nearly got her killed. But Emma it seems still hasn’t learned her lesson. And she drifts farther and farther away from Evan because of it, finding solace in Jonathan – whom is apart of her everyday life at home she doesn’t have to lie to him. You can sense trouble is brewing – especially when Evan starts hanging out with a new girl in town – Analise, whose parents have befriend Evan’s mother and father. Analise seems to be everywhere Evan is, and it’s driving Emma crazy.

But the ever faithful Evan is constantly reassuring her she means nothing to him – he’s in love with her – he saved her life and in a sense is still suffering himself from finding her that night – broken and not breathing. He was there to save her – just in the nick of time – but he still can’t shake the uneasy feeling he has from almost loosing her.

Donovan has an amazing way of telling Emma’s story – through secrets and revelations. You feel for Emma – you REALLY feel for her. You feel her pain as she tries to open up, and you see her making the same mistakes she has in the past, that’s creating more problems for her future. You wonder why Evan sticks around when Emma pushes him away – but he loves her. You wonder why Jonathan is spending so much time with teenage girl that’s got more baggage than your average teenager, but you kind of love him for it – for protecting her from Rachel. But there’s still an uneasy feeling you get – because he’s so much older and you’re not sure if he’s taking advantage of her or not.

Rachel is her own ball of issues that Emma DEFINITELY doesn’t need in her life. She’s just recovered from almost being murdered by her aunt – and now having to deal with her drunk, over emotional mother whose still grieving for Emma’s father. Rachel can’t see past to be a mother – she’s too wrapped up in her own issues to care about anyone but herself, and Emma just suffers along in silence.

Rebecca Donovan is the master of cliffhangers – and doesn’t disappoint with this book – but lucky for you, if you haven’t started the series you won’t have to wait the year I did for the third and final book in the series Out of Breath. The ending will leave you reeling – heart broken – and asking over and over WTF? Did she REALLY do that? What the hell happens now????

Just be thankful, you didn’t have to wait the year I did to find out –


“I breathed for you… I begged for you to breathe with every breath I gave to you. I kept pleading for you to breathe over and over again. And then… then you did.” Evan

“That night, when you were lying there, broken and barely breathing, I promised. I promised to always love you and that no one would ever hurt you again.” Evan

“Hold on to this life, Emma,” he whispered. “You’re so much stronger than you think you are.” Evan

“You asked why I stayed when I had every reason to leave ~ I stayed for you. I was drawn to you almost instantly without really understanding what was happening. I will always be here for you, Emma.” Jonathan

“But you can’t keep him in the dark when everything starts falling apart. You’re not protecting him, you know. You’re pushing him away.” Sara


One thought on ““Hold on to this life, Emma,” he whispered. “You’re so much stronger than you think you are.” Barely Breathing, by Rebecca Donovan

  1. We at Book Gossips love this series too..though I felt frustrated with the whole Emma and Jonathon relationship! I just wanted to shake Emma at times. Feel free to check out our reviews on the series on our blog! Xx


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