Today I will be reviewing and giving an excerpt of the fantastic young adult contemporary romance from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry, Only A Breath Apart!! This book will capture your heart and entrance your mind !!! Only A breath Apart is a gritty southern gothic at its finest that will leave an imprint in your soul after you put it down. I love Katie McGarry novels so much because her books are about to change, loss, grief, second chances, family, relationships and of course, LOVE!! You do not want to miss out reading Only A Breath Apart. I want to thank InkslingerPR & Netgalley for sending me an E-ARC to read early and review.
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Only A Breath Apart
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 22nd 2019
4.8/ 5 Stars
They say your destiny is carved in stone. But some destinies are meant to be broken.The only curse Jesse Lachlin believes in is 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.A fortuneteller tells Scarlett she's psychic, but what is real is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape, but only if she can rely on the one boy who broke her heart.Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings, but as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…
TW: Domestic Violence (Physical, Emotion and Verbal Abuse).
Only A Breath Apart was an emotional rollercoaster. If you are not familiar with Katie McGarry books, she understands how to write characters and relationship dynamics that are real and organic. Her characters struggle through hard times whether its family, loss or just surviving. Her books dive deep in hope, faith, redemption, heartache, friendship, happiness and pain. I read Only A Breath Apart in the early morning and I devoured the whole thing. It was a deeply emotional read. I felt such a tight bond with Jesse and Scarlett story. It was powerful, magical and painful to read. I think this is my favourite Katie McGarry novel - OH MY GOSH DID I JUST ANNOUNCE THAT?? - Yes. Only A Breath Apart is one of her best work. Only A breath Apart is a classic southern gothic romance. It's about a fragile love story that is magical and haunting. It's about your roots, to overcome your past to move forward with the future.
Both characters come from broken homes. Jesse Lachlan comes from a family that is a curse if he ever leaves the land his family owned for years. Scarlett comes from a home that is built on control and fear. Both connected when they were children, then Jesse cuts Scarlett out of his life when she needed him the most. Now after his grandmother passed away, he has months to prove he is worthy of inherited the cursed land he calls home. The only issues that he needs to get approval from his childhood best friend. Scarlett needs help to escape the house full of dark secrets and the only person she can trust is her childhood best friend who broke her heart. Each midnight passing; with a touch of magic and love, Scarlett and Jesse reach for comfort from each other as they must confront their pain and demons.
The pace for the book is well-done and the writing is enough to punch the emotion wheel. I highly recommend reading Only A Breath Apart. It such a touching love story that will stay in your heart once you put it down.
My Favourite Quotes
There’s something more than friendship between us. A trust and love that had taken root when we were children, something that has grown, something that once took a wrong turn and had to be pruned. Something that has been allowed to reflourish and is on the verge of going wild.”
His fingers trail up and down my arm and the sensation tickles, causing pleasing goose bumps along my skin. There’s a safety that radiates from his touch. A safety I wish I could take with me wherever I go
Each time I think it’s impossible for my heart to hurt any more than it already does, it finds another painfully imaginative way to twist. - Scarlett
The point I’m making is that you can choose to look at the tough moments as failures or you can choose to look at them as a bad few minutes in a good day. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a few seconds, but then you need to pick yourself up and brush yourself off. If you do that, you never fail.” Scarlett leans her head back onto my shoulder. “Is it possible? Can I succeed?”
“I love my land,” Jesse says. “But how do I know if I truly want my land until I experience what else is out there?” My mouth tips up. “You’re planning an adventure.” “So, what?” Tears burn my eyes. “I sit here and wait for you to return?” “I don’t expect you to sit and wait on anything. In fact, I expect you to keep being the force of nature that you are.” “You told me that you need to live on your own, and I understand that,” Jesse says. “My entire life, I’ve been scared of anything beyond my land. I need to prove to myself that I can leave and that I’m not my mom. I need to know that if I choose my land it isn’t because I’m scared, but because my land is where I truly need to be. I understand that you need to do this on your own, and I hope you understand, that I need to leave.” “But you need to go now and . . .” I trail off because the pain slashing through me causes me to wince, but I understand what he needs because I need it, too. “You need to be alone.” “Yes. I also hope you’ll understand that I don’t want to shut you out, but I do want to take some time before I call. I’m scared the moment I hear your voice, I’ll run home. I also need to know that the choices I end up making are my choices and my choices alone.” Just like the emancipation and living alone in this apartment were my choice. “For us to have forever,” he continues, “I need to know who I am first. Staying here without that knowledge isn’t fair to me or you.” “I’m scared.” The truth is so raw, so exposing that I feel as if I’m standing stark naked in a snowstorm. I shiver, and he rubs his hands up and down my arms.
“So you’re the decision maker now?”
He waits too many beats before speaking or maybe not enough. “I took on this role because, believe it or not, I care. I won’t pretend to understand the pain you’ve gone through, and I won’t pretend to understand your connection to this land. I’ve watched you grow up. I know, for you, this farm is like a Band-Aid on cuts that won’t stop bleeding.”
If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn’t. “You’ll never vote for me. You’re biased.”
“I’m not biased.”
For days I’ve been a stick under pressure, being bent too far. Finally, I snap. “I know you told Gran not to take me in after Mom died and to put me in foster care. You told her I was too broken and couldn’t be fixed. I know because I heard you. Tell me now you’re not biased.”
Guilt flashes over his face, and he tries to hide it as he flips through the folder in his hands. “If it helps, that’s why your grandmother set up the tribunal and chose two other people to help make the decision. Majority vote will win, and she believed you’ll rise to the challenge.”
I’m not sure if I respect him or hate him for not denying what we both know is true regarding the foster care. I’m also not sure how I feel that he doesn’t apologize either.
“She chose people who will give you a fair shake,” he continues. “This isn’t a death sentence. It’s a wakeup call. It’s August, and you have until May to prove you’re responsible. You have time. Take it. Prove me wrong.”
A growing sense of purpose takes root within me, and I do my best to funnel my anger and grief into it. “Who, besides you, is on the tribunal?”
If I tell you then I run the risk of you putting on a show for those people. This is your chance to change for the better. Take advantage of it.” Marshall leaves the paperwork on the antique table, shoves his folder back in his leather bag, and stands. “If it’s any consolation, I want you to succeed, but I want you to truly succeed. I won’t vote for you to keep the land unless you show me you understand what it means to run a farm of this magnitude.”
It’s no consolation. That’s him attempting to ease his guilt for when he votes against me.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Jesse. If you need to talk or if you’d like to stop by for a meal, you’re welcome at my house. And if you get tired of being here alone, you can live with us. We have plenty of room.”
I don’t believe any of that, but I nod because doing so will get him out of my home faster. Marshall stares at me for a few more seconds, as if contemplating saying more, but he doesn’t. Instead he walks out, shutting the door behind him.
His engine purrs to life and rocks crack under his moving tires. Then there’s silence. Maddening silence. I drop into Gran’s recliner, lower my head into my hands and close my eyes. I’ve lost Gran, and now I could lose my land. The only thing left that I love. The only thing in my life that brings me peace. “Why, Gran?”
I strain to listen in the silence, and my gut twists that there’s no response. “I miss you.”
Still no response and my head begins to throb. My cell in my back pocket vibrates. I dig it out, expecting to see a text from one of my friends, but I pop my neck to the right at the sight of Glory’s name. You need to stop by tomorrow night.
Glory: I know of your grandmother’s plan
Me: So do I
Glory: But I know who the people are who will be deciding your future.
Me—stone cold frozen.
Glory: Stop by tomorrow at nine. I should be wrapping up my last session then.
Me: I won’t be there.
Glory: Yes, you will.
Katie McGarry Bio:
Katie is the author of the PUSHING THE LIMITS series, THUNDER ROAD series, SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, and the upcoming YA novel, ONLY A BREATH APART. Her novels have received starred reviews, critical acclaim and have won multiple awards including being a multiple Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for YA Fiction, multiple RT Magazine's Reviewer's Choice Award Finalist for Best YA Fiction, including a win in the category, and she was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick.