Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

“Sometimes, there aren’t words and that’s okay.” 

– Katie McGarry


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…

After reading the Thunder Road series, Katie McGarry is an instant buy for me and one of my favorite authors. I had a really hard time getting into Only a Breath Apart, but even so the writing was still great and McGarry tackled the taboo topic of abuse in the perfect way. Just because I had a hard time getting into the story or connecting with the main characters does not make it less of a good book.

Scarlett and Jesse are both struggling with tough issues in their own lives, separated from each other because of a decision made based on the Lachlin family curse. Scarlett’s father is abusive and controls every aspect of her life while Jesse is dealing the loss of his grandmother and struggling to keep the land he loves because of a clause she put in her will. When they both need each other most though, they find each other again and discover that together they can make it through anything.

Abuse is a hard topic to take about, let alone read or I imagine write about. McGarry did a great job conveying all the mental abuse that goes along with the physical abuse and just how much it can truly isolate a person and make them think it’s their own fault or that they brought it upon themselves. It’s never your fault. This is something Jesse does a great job of showing Scarlett. He helps her to see beyond the abuse while she in turn helps him to see that there might be more of a future for him than not going to college and just working the land.

Jesse had so much character growth and by the end of the novel he was just an all around great guy who you would want by your side in the tough situations. Not that he always wasn’t, it was just that he hid that side so well but was now more open towards people trying to help him. It was nice to see him help Scarlett with her situation while also finally considering what he wanted for himself outside of the family curse. While he didn’t feel like there were many options open to him because of his financial situation, there really were he just needed to ask for help for once. I’m secretly hoping that he’ll pop up in another book so I can check in on him and see how he’s doing with the choices he made at the end of the book.

There was a bit of the paranormal happening in this book which I felt was a bit out of place but somehow worked. Glory, Jesse’s cousin, was a fortune teller who read tarot cards, used crystals for protection and could communicate with the spirits. This just added to the whole curse plot line and fascinated me.

Overall this was an emotional story with some triggers of abuse. It was a story that I could see being a great impact on younger readers. While Scarlett and Jesse were so good at being there for each other, I felt that the romance was a little forced and maybe they would have been better off just being best friends. Not my favorite McGarry book, but still a cute summer read.

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