Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Only a Breath Apart is the newest release from Katie McGarry, one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. Today’s blog tour stop includes my spoiler-free review, an excerpt, and a tour-wide giveaway!
Thank you so much to Tor Teen and Macmillian for an opportunity to read and review an advance copy, which does not influence my thoughts below.
Would you dare to defy destiny?Are our destinies written in stone? Do we become nothing more than the self-fulfilling prophesies of other people’s opinions? Or can we dare to become who we believe we were born to be?
“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins), ONLY A BREATHAPART is a young adult contemporary novel from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry. “Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber), order your copy of ONLY A BREATH APART now!
My entire body seizes. “You’re supposed to give me a ride home.”
Glory ends the call and offers me an apologetic expression. “I forgot I had a phone meeting. I’ll take you home, after the call, but this will be a lengthy session.”
Meaning I won’t be home by curfew. “Reschedule.”
Glory has a thoughtful look as she approaches me. One that makes me feel like I should run. She leans forward and says in my ear, “You felt something when you saw the Chariot.”
The moment she placed that card on the table I felt as if I had sprinted headfirst into a wall. It was a stunned feeling, as if I were lost in a fog, but I won’t admit that. Not to her, not to anybody.
“You’ve been asleep for a very long time,” she whispers. “It’s time to wake up, Scarlett. There’s a whole word of possibility waiting for you.”
I step back from her because this lady is insane. “I need you to take me home.”
“I can’t, but I’m sure Jesse can lead the way.”
Um…no. I spin on my toes, and I’m out the door, down the stairs and I head east for home. Seconds later, the screen door slams shut again, and there are heavy footfalls on the wooden steps.
“Wait up!” Jesse calls out.
Nope. Not going to happen. I enter the tree line and curse the sky above that there’s no moon. This is the country, which means that besides the fading light from Glory’s house, I’m in complete darkness.
“Scarlett!” Jesse tries again. “Wait!”
But I don’t. I walked this land hundreds of times with Jesse, sometimes by myself so I could find him when I needed a friend. I can do this on my own.
“Let me find you so I can walk you home,” Jesse says.
He’s to my right, and I hurry because I don’t want to be found. My pulse pounds in my ears, and my blood tingles with this need to stay hidden, to stay alone.
Once upon a time, Jesse was my best friend, and then one day he froze me out. He stopped answering the door when I knocked, he ran away when he saw me coming across the field and then when we were forced into the same space on the first day of our freshman year, he humiliated me in front of the entire school.
Jesse Lachlin crushed me, and while I feel sorry for him because his grandmother died, I don’t forgive him for leaving a scar on my soul.
“Dammit, Scarlett, stop being so stubborn.”
My jaw clenches, and it takes an immeasurable amount of self-control to not explain to Jesse in a very loud tone that he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever met. Doing so will inform him where I’m located, and I need him to leave me alone.
I push forward, faster this time, but then my foot snags on a root. My balance is thrown and my arms swing wildly in the air. I attempt to reach for something to break my fall, but my fingers catch air. The sensation is like the first massive hill of a roller coaster as my stomach lifts, and I brace myself for impact with the ground.
I close my eyes, tense my muscles and I’m caught. Strong, warm arms weave around me from behind and then my back is pressed flush against a solid chest. My heart leaps, and my lungs are robbed of air.
“You okay?” Jesse’s mouth is incredibly close to my ear, and his hot breath tickles my skin. I tremble because of the adrenaline or because of this achingly beautiful intimacy, I don’t know.
“Are you okay?” he asks again, and this time his arms tenderly squeeze me as if he’s offering comfort, as if he honestly cares. It’s been so long since anyone has hugged me that a part of me melts into the embrace as if I’m dry ground welcoming a warm rain.
It is no secret that Katie McGarry is one of my favorite YA contemporary authors, and Only a Breath Apart is a wonderful addition to her works. This one is not to be missed. Katie is known for her real life and sometimes rough life situations in her books, but they always connect to your heart.
Katie doesn’t write light and cute contemporary, but emotional books with boys who are rough on the outside and solid gold on the inside. They aren’t easy to read, but not because of the writing, but because of the emotions, the pain the characters go through. Some of the violence in the book can be a bit much, but it’s an integral part of the story. About learning to trust, learning to love, and trying to heal.
I love that this book has a tiny bit extrasensory perception, and I don’t think that is the right way to explain it. More like psychics, spirits, curses and a spiritual connection to the land. I can’t even explain it, but it is a part of the story that has importance, but it doesn’t take anything away from the plot, only adds to it. I loved this chance that Katie took, as it isn’t something she ever wrote before.
Let’s talk about the characters, because I love character driven books and Katie writes the best characters. Jesse has recently lost his grandmother, one of his last remaining relatives. He is the inheritor of a large farmland, but his grandmother had created a sort of trust to determine how he should inherit the property when he turns 18 in less than a year. He believes his family is cursed, his mother swore that he couldn’t leave their families land, and everytime he has gone far away, very bad things have happened to him. Jesse has got a bad reputation around town, but all of his shortcomings are based his heart of gold. He gets in trouble for helping his friends, or his farm, or his family.
Scarlett was the girl Jesse grew up with, she was always closed off, but they were always close. Of course Jesse pushed her away and hurt her a few years ago. Now his future depends on her, and he has never stopped caring for her. Scarlett and Jesse start rekindling their friendship. Her life and Jesse’s are interwined, for better or worse.
I love when audiobooks have dual narrators when the book is told in that format. Nothing makes me happier than having a male and female narrator, so yay! The production is great, and I enjoyed listening to this story. Y’all know I love audiobooks more than anything so yeah I got lost in this one.
If you like your characters with a bit of a rough edge, complexity, and ultimately flawed, I can guarantee you will be completely consumed with Only a Breath Apart.
*Trigger warnings for violence, domestic abuse, verbal abuse.