Jan 30, 2019

Review and Giveaway: Only A Breath Apart

Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 22, 2019
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"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 know you guys have been seeing a lot of this book on our blog recently, but it's only because I love Katie McGarry so much! Also, I finally got my hands on this book, and I can assure you guys that it does not disappoint. This book has everything I love about McGarry's books: amazing character development, a well-paced plot, and real issues that teens can connect with. 

Jesse and Scarlett are so amazing together, and I love how their relationship was rooted in a childhood friendship because it created a backstory that was emotional and raw for them both, especially due to a high school falling out. Scarlett is very relatable, which is something I look for in a YA contemporary lead, because she is very private about her issues, and she feels so sheltered in her family home that she's scared to share her secrets with anyone. That's where Jesse comes in, which may sound cliche, but something I love about Katie McGarry is that she uses YA tropes to benefit the character's struggling issues. Thus, the reader still has an attachment to reality throughout the romantic relationship and heightening tension.

Jesse's side of the story is where I felt as if the realistic aspects of the group fell apart. Maybe it's because I've never been exposed to psychics and that type of thing, but I was a little annoyed by it. A large portion of the story relied on Jesse's psychic cousin and his attachment to his land, which I admit to not enjoying. There were a lot of other issues that the characters were dealing with, that I saw as more realistic, that could have been expanded on and used as a connecting point. The psychic addition felt like it could have been part of a totally different book. However, I will say that this is a highly opinionated flaw I found in the book, so many other readers might enjoy how unusual this is, especially for a YA contemporary.

I really enjoyed this book, but I will admit that this was not one of my favorite Katie McGarry books. Although seeing as I have given almost all her other books 5 out of 5 stars, that's not saying much. Also, I could feel Katie McGarry setting up a friend group around Jesse that she could use as main characters in future books, and I would be really excited to see this turn into a series! The characters seemed very interesting, and I can see this taking a path close to the Pushing the Limits series, which is one of my favorites!

Overall, I would recommend reading this book, especially if you have enjoyed McGarry's books in the past! I will say that this book deals with issues such as domestic violence, so if that can be triggering for readers I would not recommend this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

“I thought you said you were meeting Camila.”
I jump at the sound of Dad’s voice and spin in his direction. “I am.”
Dad studies me, and I hide my hands behind my back to conceal the slight quiver that could announce my guilt. When I left him, he was in good spirits, but his moods can quickly shift. There are two patched up holes in my bedroom that can testify to this. Dad replaced the drywall, covered it with fresh paint, but the perfection can’t take away the memory of the way my heart pounded through my chest as he drove his fist through the wall.
He inclines his head toward the booth of balloon animals. “Camila appears to be working.”
“She’s getting off soon,” I say too fast as I bite back the need to ask why he didn’t go home like he said he was.
“Why did you leave us if she’s still working? You said Camila would be done by five-thirty.”
My mouth dries out, and the tremble in my hands travels to the rest of my body, but I force out a cleansing breath. Show no fear. Don’t give him any reason to doubt a thing I say. “She was supposed to be off by now, but her parents asked her to work a few more minutes.”
“If Camila isn’t getting off until later, you should have told me,” There’s a subtle sharpness to his tone that causes hurricane warnings in my brain. “I was showing you a great deal of trust by letting you find Camila on your own.”
“She’s only running a few minutes late. Her parents are watching me so I’m okay.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I glance over and my heart lifts when I notice Camila’s mom watching us. Her stare gives credibility to every falsehood rolling off my tongue. She’s not watching because she thinks I need a babysitter, but probably because she’s mentioned to Camila that she’s perplexed by my father’s strict rules.
I touch the crystals on the table as if I’m interested in them. It’s difficult to act normal as Dad looks at Camila’s mom then studies me. Please believe me, please believe me. Please.
I’m so stupid. I should have never left Dad early. I should have never lied. But I did. Dad was having fun at the fair, Mom was having fun and my sister, Isabelle, was having fun. They were all laughing and smiling. They’ve forgiven him, and I haven’t. I can’t, not again, and this is one of the many ways life is no longer simple.
I want to peek at him in an attempt to understand my fate, but I don’t. Eye contact doesn’t help when he’s angry. It only makes it worse.
Being in public won’t soothe his temper. He’ll just be more discreet. Like last year when Dad had arrived early to pick me up at a football game and saw me heading to the bathroom by myself. After I had returned to my friends, he called me away with a smile on his face. He had placed a seemingly loving arm around my shoulder, but his fingers dug into my arm as he severely whispered in my ear how I was irresponsible and that it was time to go home.
Dad didn’t cause a scene at the game. The yelling started the moment we were alone in his car and continued until he left me in my room. I stayed on my bed for hours, curled up in a ball and sobbing.
My throat swells as I think of how this will play out. Will it be like Christmas? Will he throw a lamp and force Mom to clean it up as I watch? Or will it be like this past spring and he’ll flip the kitchen table, breaking all the dishes that had been placed there for dinner?
Dad steps closer to me, and I’m filled with dread. “Next time, in a situation like this, you return to me and have Camila text you when she’s done working. I don’t like the idea of you being alone.”
All I want is to be alone, for my thoughts and actions to belong only to me. But he’s not angry, he’s believing me, and I release a breath I had unknowingly held and take the small win.

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of full-length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, an RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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