I fell into a terrible reading slump this past fall, and this book has launched me right out of it!
Before I get into the details, I want to tell you that this is NOT my typical type of book at all. The Goodreads listing for Breathtaking compares it to books by Nicholas Sparks and John Green, and – with all due respect to those wildly successful authors – I have no interest in reading books by those men or anyone like them. I don’t seek out sadness.
So how did I end up reading this book? Well, the author posted something that resonated with me on Instagram, and I commented on it, and she offered me an electronic copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Our exchange – which I am not sharing, because I don’t want to influence how you read the book – was enough to pique my interest. (I had a dear friend who endured one of the challenges faced by a character in Breathtaking.) And when I sat down to read this book, I could not stop. I read it in two sittings, in two big gulps. And now I want to take you by the shoulders and force you to read it, too.
Mini Plot Summary: Cara has a picture perfect life – at least, from the outside. But only she and her best friend Adam know the dark truth about what’s going on inside her family home. With support from Adam – and with the solace she finds through writing – Cara manages to survive her tumultuous household. But when she needs Adam the most, he’s not there… and her ability to write deserts her as well.
What I Liked About This Book: There is a truly extraordinary quality in the author’s writing. I keep wanting to describe it as “tenderness,” but that doesn’t quite capture how beautiful or special it is. It’s clear, in every word, that the author has deep respect and reverence and love for her characters. (This may be because they are based on real people.) Even as horrible things happened to the protagonist, I never felt like it was gratuitous or done to toy with or titillate the reader. Instead, I felt that the author deeply cared for her characters and was holding them as gently as she could.
I also loved the relationships depicted in this story. Cara and Adam have such a wonderful friendship, and it feels so intense and genuine – their experiences ring true and feel incredibly relatable.
And, as a writer-type person, the fact that Cara seeks solace in writing is so relatable. I loved how part of her journey was finding out how to express her anger and grief through poetry.
What I Didn’t Like About This Book: The one thing I found missing was more of a resolution between Cara and her parents. I’m not saying I need everything tied up neatly with a bow, and perhaps what we got was more true to life… but I found their relationship to be such a critical part of the book that I wanted more about where that ended up.
Should You Read This Book? YES. Breathtaking is a heartbreaking, hopeful, devastating, beautiful book and I want EVERYONE to read it.
Many thanks to the author for providing me with an electronic copy to read and review.