Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Out Of Breath (The Breathing Series #3) by Rebecca Donovan

From Amazon.com

"My insides still burned. I considered what I could do to push the torment back into the dark and return to my numb state. I couldn't do it on my own. I needed help. I was desperate."

Emma Thomas is hiding. From everything and everyone...including herself. But she can't hide forever. Her past will find her, and her secrets won't remain quiet—not if she wants to be forgiven. Emma learns that honesty can hurt worse than betrayal, and the truth may cost her the only love she's ever known.

The highly anticipated conclusion of The Breathing Series will have readers holding their breath until the last page.


**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is the third book in the series & it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first book.  If you are new to The Breathing Series, then you might not want to read further.

I truly came into this book with low expectations.  I was so undecided going into it as to how I felt about this series...which made me sad after how highly it was recommended.  Somehow, I came out feeling...okay...about it.  Now, I know that isn't high praise, but I was so annoyed through most of Barely Breathing that okay is an improvement.  

Two years have passed since the end of Barely Breathing.  Emma is now a sophomore at Stanford and is existing...but not living.  Her time with her mother added to the emotional scars left by her aunt and has made her question the value of her life.  One aspect of this story that I have never related to is the party scene. Emma has always gone reluctantly.  Having seen the effects of alcohol on her mother, she has always avoided it, but something flipped in her when she caught a glimpse of Evan moving on with his life.  Now, she has added drowning her sorrows in alcohol to her repertoire of self-destructive habits.  Where I struggled with this at first since it seemed out of character, I soon accepted it since Emma's actions have rarely made sense to me.

There were several things that made this book better than the first two.  It felt as if the author finally found her groove with these characters.  They felt a little more fleshed out & the plot flowed a little better for me.  Also, the side characters really enhanced the story.  I loved Cole.  His sweet charm & patience won me over.  I knew that he was a place holder because you can't have a series like this end without reuniting Emma & Evan or risk completely pissing off the romantic readers of the world.  However, I did think Cole deserved better than Emma so I hope he gets his own story some day.  Meg, Serena & Peyton were also fun additions to the story.  Their personalities were distinct & each cared about Emma in their own way (though it did feel a little like they were just the parts of Sara's personality split into three different people). Add to that the fun of Evan's friends at the beach (who were less distinct from each other, but were an entertaining bunch) and you have a much better cast of side-characters than previously.

Now as to recommendations...I'll stand by the fact that each book had me hooked.  I needed to keep reading & know the whole story.  However, I was frustrated & annoyed through large sections.  So, I probably wouldn't bring it up to friends...or if I did, I would recommend it with caveats.  I am glad I read it...and I'll probably check out Jonathan's book when she releases it...but it's not one that I would tell anyone to drop everything for.  

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