22 January 2019

Only a Breath Apart - Review

Only a Breath Apart
by Katie McGarry

What they say: Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart. 

Jesse Lachlin is cursed. 

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head… 

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: Only a Breath Apart has all the classic KM goodness. It has a sweet and daring romance, lasting and unusual friendships and offers up a real social commentary. I'm going to include a trigger warning because it does feature descriptions of violence but as always KM handles these difficult and hard-hitting issues with care and sensitivity.

It's full of nostalgia and hope. I loved the mystical or magical element, I'll leave it to you to decide whether there really is anything supernatural or if it's all a 'con' (thanks Glory). The ongoing Peter Pan theme worked well because on one level the characters refer to Jesse as Peter Pan and Scarlett as Tink and are at times seemingly aware of the theme, then at other times we see role reversals and characters denying the inevitable. Very clever.

Domestic and familial violence is something I'm always wary of reviewing. Luckily for me, it is to an area I do not have experience with so I am worried about offending or upsetting followers/readers. BUT I found Scarlett's resilience and strength uplifting and a real force for positivity. 

In their own words both Jesse and Scarlett have scars and issues. Jesse is trapped by the idea of a family curse and painful past, whilst Scarlett parents cause a lot of problems for her. The portrayal of the Pastor was interesting because I have often seen negative representations of figures of authority in such stories who often ignore abuse or won't listen to the victim, but in this story he listens, guides and helps.

Some of the book is hard to read and I did find myself fighting off tears at times, but I loved the sense of being in it together (once the characters started to trust each other and open up) and the friendships. V made me smile - I appreciated her take no prisoners attitude.

The sentiment of a living, breathing land really helped set the tone of this coming of age story.

4.5 Stars in my Sky!


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