|Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan|
(Book #3 of the Breathing Series)
July 2, 2013
Genre: New Adult
Source: Personal Purchase
Emma leaves Weslyn and everyone in it behind to attend Stanford University, just as she always intended. A shell of her former self, she is not the same girl. She is broken, and the only way that she’ll be whole again is through forgiveness. Emma must find a way to forgive herself and recognize her own worth before she can receive the love she deserves. This final installment will have readers holding their breath until the very last page.
I had huge amounts of anxiety going into reading this final book of the Breathing series. I absolutely loved the first two books (gave them both 5 Stars) and have been desperately awaiting the conclusion, and if the conclusion would be what I'd been hoping for. Oddly enough, it wasn't as emotional a read for me as the first two books, but more of a soul-searching journey. Here are my thoughts:
FIRST THIRD OF BOOK: I found this to be very stressful to read. I didn't like where EMMA was, who she was, and I was really frustrated that after two years she still wasn't in any therapy. She had red flags all over the place and her so-called friends kept putting her in ridiculous situations and ignoring the obvious instead of really helping her and pushing past her walls. SARA and all the roommates could obviously see that Emma had problems that were not going away, but getting worse, and babysitting her was not going to be enough. When you can't leave someone by themselves without them falling off the deep end or making stupid choices, that's a problem.
SECOND THIRD OF BOOK: I had mixed feelings about Emma's choices, particularly with a new character named COLE. While Emma made her intentions clear to him, I still didn't love what happened and how much focus it received. I did not appreciate their casualness. I also didn't understand his attraction to her, outside of the physical. Because the reality of it is: Emma is not that pleasant of a person much of the time. She's a victim, yes, but she's also self-centered, self-deprecating, and self-destructive. Then when the past and present come together after a certain tragedy, I didn't appreciate the choices Emma made - more selfish choices. But I did like Cole and wouldn't mind a spin-off series or book about him; He has an interesting background and personality.
LAST THIRD OF BOOK: My favorite. Trying not to be spoilery, I'll just say that I actually enjoyed watching the past and present come together and work toward some closure, resolution, etc. It was difficult to read and frustrating at times because these characters knew what they needed to do but their stubbornness and selfishness at times would prevent them from moving forward. Emma was truly exasperating at times, but having not personally been through the amount of personal trauma that she's been through, I don't want to overly judge her, because I have not walked in her shoes. But I am glad that she had people in her life who were finally real with her, and I also liked it when people would stand up to her and not let her constantly be the victim and the martyr. She needed to be accountable for her actions with steps toward forgiveness and not just wallowing in guilt. EVAN, I loved, as always. I'm so glad we got to know more about him and his reactions to things. I hate doormat male characters who let women walk over them. I felt like Evan was able to stand up for himself, decide what he wanted, and expect to be treated a certain way. I could read about Evan all day long.
LAST CHAPTER: Slighly spoilery - I liked how things ended. I felt I had closure, and I've reread it a few times and I still feel great. I also felt like all the open-ended questions out there were answered. Of course I love Evan and Emma. But what is keeping my from giving this a full 5 Stars is that the end was just too short. For the length of this book, and the amount of time spent on other characters in this book and Emma's relationship with them, I really wanted more to this end. I was really worried when reading the last few pages because there was so much to resolve in the remaining pages, and I didn't know how she was going to do it. Well, she did it. Everything's resolved. But I wanted more. I spent so much time investing in Emma and Evan's relationship, that I wanted more of them. I wanted to read more about them together. Now I know that this series is really Emma's journey, not necessarily Evan's. But considering his importance in her life, again, I just wanted more.
EPILOGUE: Be forewarned that it is only 2 pages long. This is probably the shortest epilogue I've ever read. Now I liked the focus of the epilogue. I feel like it was one more piece of Emma's life I could be happy about. So I do not want to dismiss this epilogue. What I would have really liked would have been a second epilogue again focused on the relationship I was really invested in. We get hints in the last chapter, but, again, I would have liked a little more. For those of us invested in these characters, it's hard to let them go.
BOTTOMLINE: A big thanks to Rebecca Donovan and this amazing series. Despite me wanting more at the end, I've loved this entire series and taking this journey with Emma. And if she ever wants to write another book about Emma and Evan, I'll be the first in line for it. But she did tell me she's going to writing a series with JONATHAN, so I'll look forward to that, and hope for Emma and Evan cameos.