Author: K.A. Tucker
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.
Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty year old Kacey and her fifteen year old sister Livie escape Grand Rapids, Michigan to start over in Miami. Struggling to make ends meet, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.
Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.
Ten Tiny Breaths is one those books I want to share with everyone who can read English. It was relief embodied in bytes and pixel, as I have been searching for new, stunning read. This is not to say that it is impeccable though, but it certainly had me clinging to my tablet as I read it. It hooked me from its first couple pages. A rarity.
The most powerful message in this book is its significance of drunk driving. It is a message that is riddled in many novels of today; however, it is portrayed without false distortions in Ten Tiny Breaths. There are also instances of drug abuse, molestation, poverty, gambling and divorce. All of these social issues compiled, uncover a book that is not only meant to poke at your feelings, but one that places you into its world, then and there.
Despite her inability to attach to people, Kacey is an exquisite character of literature. She is no role model you want for your daughter, but she really captured me with her demanding personality. Her incessant smartass comments, her profanity, and her sexual impulsiveness provided her with a magnetism that not only captured my thoughts, but my emotions too. What I admired most about Kacey though was her determination. Firstly, it is her protection of Livie that led her to move them to Miami - broke. I do not think I would have the guts to do that. Another example is that she is determined not to form bonds with others, whether sexually or not, because she does not want to endure losing them. Though this is counterproductive to healing from trauma, it sure amplifies that she has an iron will
Then there is Trent, the Messiah who will somehow "fix" the damaged redhead, Kacey. It appears that his characterization is primarily meant to swoon female readers (except me probably). His very introduction in the book is evolved into a serious case of the hots for Kacey, and within minutes, she is infatuated. This can probably be a result of her celibacy period, but for someone whose heart has been converted to steel, I found this unbelievable. Nonetheless, Trent is mysterious because readers do not learn his origins and his motives early. However, it is not the annoying 'mysterious' that authors utilize to make a character all sexy and confusing. Also, Trent propels that plot in such a way, that at one point, I became extremely desperate to read more.
The romance between Trent and Kacey saturates Ten Tiny Breaths after a while, and this has its pros and cons. Firstly, I felt that Kacey's independent attitude (that was perfectly complimented with sarcasm and bitchiness) transforms into a dependent, oh-so-horny one too quickly. What exactly compelled her to want to be with Trent when she first meets him? I am sure she saw many chiseled men with blue eyes at the gym. Even more surprising, is that Kacey learns to lean on Trent so much, that when he takes a sudden absence, the novel solely tells of Kacey's loneliness. Though their relationship has what I deem an unstable basis, it certainly deepens as Trent does his utmost to break Kacey's shell, to remove that snug "bitch coat". He fails many times, and does some questionable things, but he is relentless.
I am not one to really examine secondary characterization in my reviews, but Ten Tiny Breaths is an exception, and that is a great thing. Each character is thoughtfully placed into this book. Whether they are menacing like Ben or stern like Dan, they certainly cast more light on their primary counterparts. One secondary character of note is Storm, the Cleary sisters' new neighbor. She initially appears to be the average bimbo, but she proves to be much, much more than that. This book actually reinforces that good ol' Shakespeare theme of appearance versus reality. Conversely, though Livie should not be considered a secondary character, I found her to be one. She is angelic, and supportive of her sister, yet she seems to be in the background most of the time, especially when Trent begins to dominate her sister's life. Tucker has not left us to dry though, because the sequel to Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie will be Livie's perspective.
As for Tucker's style I was very pleased. Her metaphors of Kacey's fight to be like herself before the tragedy are compelling. Like the cover depicts, life alone was practically drowning Kacey, and it takes genuine compassion and medical attention, to help her resurface. The exchanges between characters are notable, as they each portray their personalities as they speak. I was happy to see the dialogue being more than just functional, but also unforgettable. There are some quotes that Kacey said that I will not ever forget, for instance. I also enjoyed the instances of humor which manifested in Kacey's sarcasm and Tanner, the landlord's, slowness.
Perhaps the strongest element of this book is its ability to evoke tons of emotions from readers. Simply put, it was so touching. Sometimes Tucker made me feel pitiful of the Cleary sisters and their future. At other instances, I was left gaping like a fish when the most unexpected twists played out before me. This book even made me shed a tear or two. Then several pages later, I found myself laughing at Tanner's pajama bottoms. Ten Tiny Breaths put me on an emotional rollercoaster, and let me tell you it was such a memorable, ride.