Emma is bright, kind, and beautiful. She is an outstanding student and an incredible athlete. Perfect life, right? Hardly. Emma has a secret. A secret no one should ever have to keep. This is a story of abuse, but it is also a story of hope, love and survival.
Emma Thomas keeps to herself. She allows herself only one friend: Sara McKinley. Sara knows Emma’s secret, or at least she knows the very few details she has been able to discover. Emma is counting down the days until she graduates high school so she can go away to college and, most importantly, escape her home life. She is focused, and nothing is going to deter her from her plans. That is until Evan Matthews walks into her life and shatters her private protective bubble almost immediately: "No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?"
Evan is determined to get to know Emma, and, once he does, he is determined to save her. Will he be able to rescue her from this nightmare? Will he be able to give her a reason to breathe? “I love that picture, he admitted softly. I think it's because I love the girl in that picture.”
Reason to Breathe is a horrific, yet gripping, book. Abuse is not an easy topic to read about. It is real, and it happens every day. According to national child abuse statistics, over three million reports of child abuse are made every year. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Almost five children die every day as a result of abuse. *
All I can think is: How many don’t get reported? How many suffer in silence just like Emma does?
Rebecca Donovan has written an eye opening and revealing novel. As hard as it was to read at times, it would be harder not to read it and ignore such a real and horrifying topic. I commend her for telling this story and look forward to its sequel as well as more of her work.
*Source for national abuse statistics: http://www.childhelp.org/