Barely Breathing

A Riveting Sequel in the Breathing Series”

Book, SeriesBarely Breathing, Breathing Series #2
GenreRomance, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
AuthorRebecca Donovan
PublisherSkyscape Publishing


Welcome to this captivating book review of “Barely Breathing,” the second installment in the critically acclaimed Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan. In this blog post, we will delve into the compelling world of Emma Thomas and continue her emotional journey through the depths of heartache, love, and resilience. As a young adult contemporary fiction novel, “Barely Breathing” tackles sensitive themes such as abuse and self-discovery, offering readers a poignant and thought-provoking reading experience.


Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance

About the Book

“Barely Breathing” picks up where its predecessor, “Reason to Breathe,” left off. The story revolves around Emma Thomas, a resilient teenager who has survived a life of abuse at the hands of her aunt and uncle. Emma’s desperate attempts to keep her secret hidden continue to shape her life, as she grapples with the consequences of her tumultuous past.

Plot Summary

Certainly! Here’s a more detailed plot summary of the book “Barely Breathing”:

“Barely Breathing” is the captivating sequel to “Reason to Breathe” in the Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan. The story follows the journey of Emma Thomas, a resilient teenager who has endured a life of abuse at the hands of her aunt and uncle.

After the harrowing events of the first book, Emma finds herself in a new life with her friend Evan Matthews, who becomes a pillar of support and understanding for her. As their friendship deepens, Emma begins to confront her own emotions and fears, and she finds herself falling in love with Evan. However, the scars from her traumatic past continue to haunt her, creating emotional barriers that she must confront and overcome.

Throughout the book, Emma’s journey to healing and self-discovery is fraught with challenges and setbacks. The weight of her past, coupled with the fear of being discovered, adds layers of complexity to her relationships and personal growth. She grapples with trust issues, fearing that her past will repeat itself and that she may be betrayed once again.

As the story progresses, Emma’s newfound relationship with Evan becomes a source of solace and strength. Their bond provides her with a glimmer of hope, but she must learn to navigate the complexities of love and trust while confronting her deep-rooted traumas.

Rebecca Donovan’s powerful storytelling delves into the psychological and emotional impact of abuse on individuals, emphasizing the importance of healing and finding inner strength. Through Emma’s journey, readers witness her gradual transformation as she learns to reclaim her voice, stand up for herself, and face her past head-on.

The plot of “Barely Breathing” is a poignant exploration of resilience, love, and the indomitable human spirit. It shines a light on the struggles faced by survivors of abuse and the long and arduous path to healing and self-empowerment. The book captures the raw emotions, fears, and triumphs of its characters, immersing readers in their tumultuous world.

Character Analysis

Rebecca Donovan skillfully crafts multidimensional characters that resonate with readers. Emma Thomas, the resilient protagonist, undergoes immense growth throughout the series. Her journey is marked by strength, vulnerability, and the determination to find her voice. Evan Matthews, the compassionate and understanding friend, provides a source of stability and love for Emma. Supporting characters such as Emma’s friends and her aunt and uncle add depth to the story, illustrating the impact of relationships on one’s journey to healing.

Writing Style

Donovan’s writing style is gripping and evocative, capturing the raw emotions and inner turmoil of the characters. Her vivid descriptions and poignant dialogues bring the story to life, allowing readers to immerse themselves in Emma’s world. The author’s ability to tackle difficult subjects with sensitivity and authenticity is commendable, making the narrative both realistic and relatable.

Themes Explored

One of the prominent themes explored in “Barely Breathing” is the impact of abuse on individuals. Donovan delves into the psychological and emotional repercussions of trauma, highlighting the importance of healing and finding strength in the face of adversity. The novel also delves into themes of love, trust, and self-discovery, as Emma navigates her relationships and strives to reclaim her life.


On a scale of 1 to 5, “Barely Breathing” deserves a solid 4.5. The book captivates readers with its poignant storytelling, well-developed characters, and exploration of complex themes. While it may contain triggers for some readers due to its portrayal of abuse, the novel handles these sensitive topics with care and offers a message of hope and resilience.


“Barely Breathing” is an emotionally charged and compelling sequel that continues to unravel Emma Thomas’ journey of healing and self-discovery. Rebecca Donovan’s masterful storytelling, coupled with her exploration of important themes, leaves a lasting impact on readers. As the second installment in the Breathing series, this novel solidifies Donovan’s place as a talented writer in the young adult contemporary fiction genre.

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