*I received an eARC from the publisher but all thoughts and opinions are my own*
*Trigger warnings for domestic abuse*
Katie McGarry just has this magical way of writing that sucks me into her words, and Only a Breath Apart is no exception. This is a very emotional gripping novel that depicts social issues in such a realistic way. You can’t help but feel for and route for these characters and what they’re going through.
Only a Breath Apart follows Jesse and Scarlett, who are both not strangers to pain – especially because of their families, as they’re trying to deal with and overcomes their pasts. You watch them trying to deal with the most heartbreaking situations – Jesse trying to keep his family’s land and Scarlett trying to break apart from her family and come into her own. I seriously loved Jesse and Scarlett – both separately and together. To be honest, I think I found a new favorite male character of Katie’s (sorry Isaiah). I just felt so much for Jesse, especially when you get more of his backstory and what happened. His pain was my pain, Scarlett’s pain was my pain and I just wanted these two to be happy. I am such a sucker for two broken people who come together and help each other heal.
Of course, there were times when I was frustrated with both Scarlett and Jesse but I loved that? Because they’re teenagers and they’re going to do frustrating things and make bad decisions; and that makes them that much more real and authentic. As for the side characters, they were fine but truthfully, Scarlett’s friends and Jesse’s friends didn’t really add too too much to the story so I didn’t care too much about them. Although, their interactions were still fun to see. My favorite side character though has to be Glory – she’s just this fun, little hippie psychic who just happens to be Jesse’s distant cousin or something (who is the reason Scarlett and Jesse start talking again.) and every time she was on the page, she just made me smile.
Truthfully, this is probably the darkest book Katie has written (in terms of heavy topics) and the way she deals with abuse in this book feels so authentic and real. Not only does she show one way it can affect the abusee; she also shows how it can affect those around them (especially in a small family). It’s a very hard topic to talk about or even write about and I applaud Katie for deciding to tackle it in this novel.
Overall, it was a fun reading experience. I went in with high expectations considering I’ve loved all her past books and this was on my highly anticipated releases lists. And boy were they met. I’m so glad I got to experience Scarlett and Jesse’s story and now that I have the finished copy, I can’t wait to read it and see what’s different from the arc. This book was a blast and I can’t wait to see what Katie does in the future.