Book Review: Ten Tiny Breaths

Atria Books (Kindle Edition) Pub Feb 13th 2013

I recieved this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty-year-old Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.
Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and he perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds. Goodreads

I think I’m still a little breathless and gathering my emotions after finishing this book but I’ll try and pull myself together, pick my jaw up off the floor and give this book the review it deserves and doesn’t just consist of “OMG…Epic!”

I literally devoured this book over a three hour period last night. I stopped to eat (and watch an episode of Supernatural) and that’s it. Got to 80% and thought okay it’s way past bedtime, no okay…2% more then I had a mini heart-attack and I realised there was no chance of  sleep until I knew how it ended. It’s been a while since a book did that to me. I needed a win after the last book I read failed to ignite my fire and boy did this deliver.

I loved how the author crafted the book weaving the plot through the stages of grief and recovery. I thought it was a really novel concept and added another level to already weighty subject matter.

Up until recently I had stayed  firmly in my YA bubble and honestly didn’t expect much depth from New Adult. I admit I had cast aspersions that it was simply a way to get more sex into a YA book without being accused of corrupting the young ‘uns.

I hold my hands up. I was wrong.

This was simply an amazing story about healing after a tragedy that had real heart, emotion, depth, filled with characters that weren’t 2D but could actually be people you know and love.

Kacey was such a well thought out character, mired in her grief. Unable to move on as she simply existed while those around her tried to pull her from drowning in the waves of harrowing pain and suffering as she desperately tries to bury the memories of her past. Livvie her beautiful sister struggling to cope as the last adult left in her life  is constantly in danger from her self-destrucive beahviour leaving her to carry a lot more responsibility than her young shoulders can handle.

Storm who at first appears like she may be a caricature of the blue collar single mom working in a dodgy club turns out (quite rightly) to be a warm caring individual who thinks nothing of trusting two strange young girls and enveloping them in a selfless love they believed didn’t exist anymore.

And Trent. Mysterious, sexy, caring. His only concern is to pull kacey from her depression and start the healing process.

The bonds between the characters were so real, not just Trent and Kacey where the sexual tension was to die for but Kacey’s relationships with all the characters tugged at my heartstrings and I was so surprised that a book with so many secondary characters could impact me so fully.

Up until the last couple of chapters it seems like this is simply a straight forward story of recovery (is recovery ever straightforward??) until a slight sense of foreboding clenched my tummy just under my bellybutton and wouldn’t go away until the one thing I prayed wouldn’t happen crashed down in a shocking twist. I had my suspicions but until it happened I was cradling myself in denial and was left literally stunned.

The insight into therapy and recovery was  fascinating and handled with a grace and care that I applaud the author for. I truly didn’t know what to expect when I cracked this book open last night but I was so overwhelmingly captivated by this story of a girl falling in love with a boy whilst slowly remembering who she truly is underneath layers of torment and more importantly the fact that she could become her again.

The only gripe I had was that sometime the pacing seemed a little too fast, that things were moving a bit too quickly along but it was a minor issue and of course one could argue that you can’t put a timeline on recovery so I’m willing to let it go.

The ending surprised me. I believe it was the right ending but it truly made me challenge my own beliefs and made me wonder how I would cope in a similar situation, would I be capable of making the same decisions and reaching through all that pain to selflessly forgive? In retrospect, I would hope that I would have even half the strength Kacey demonstrated in order to find my own happy ending.

The lesson is there to be learned and boy does Tucker ensure you get the message. Live, you never know what life will take a turn and take your carefully laid plans, tear them up and dance on the scraps. Read this book, embrace the message, It’s one you’ll never forget!

Favourite Quotes:
“I want to make you smile. For real. Always. We’re going to go for dinners, and see movies, and walk on the beach. We’ll go hand gliding, or bungee jumping, or whatever you want to do. Whatever makes you smile and laugh more” His fingers toy with my bottom lip. “Let me make you smile”
I’d fix it all for you if I coulld. You know that, right?” he whispers. I wonder if he’s talking about my scars or the last four years of my life.
Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 Stars
Review posted at Goodreads and Amazon

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Ten Tiny Breaths

  1. Wow, what a raving review! I’ve been seeing a lot of books like this lately: girl recovering from grief and trying to move on after a tragedy. And I’m hesitant to pick up another one after Lovely, Dark and Deep; however, this one sounds like it would be worth it!

    • Lol I was surprised by my reaction too. I truly didn’t expect much depth so was stunned by how it all unfolded. You’re right there does seem to be a plethora of these stories around so it was fortunate perhaps that it was the first of its kind that I had read but credit where it’s due, it was a great read. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Waiting on Wednesday #8 | What Danielle Did Next

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