2.5 starsI'm afraid I've made a horrible mistake.Ok, I'm being dramatic, but I am regretting that I purchased the second book in this series. It was late, and this book ended in a cliffhanger, and one thing led to another...So, Reason to Breathe is about Emma, high school student, whose father is dead & mother is a drunk, so she lives with her uncle & aunt. The aunt beats her, but she doesn't leave or report anything because of her two young cousins; the parents are nice to them, & she doesn't want to take those kids away from the psycho parents.The whole story line was weak, in my opinion. I can appreciate that the author didn't take the easy route & do the whole male-on-weak-female abuse thing by making the aunt the abuser. However, the way it was done didn't seem believable. The aunt would just walk into a room, beat the crap out of Emma with something (like a baseball bat or laundry detergent jug) without any provocation by either her or Emma. Then she'd run off to hug and play with her kids cheerfully. I get that abusers can be deceptive, and they don't need a reason to abuse, but the complete randomness of the attacks struck me as odd. Also, I don't want to sound calloused by saying Emma's reason for not leaving (the kids) was stupid, but it is a stupid reason for her friends to listen to her & not tell anyone. From the impression I got of who Evan is (the love interest in this story), he doesn't seem like the type that would do nothing while Emma suffered.Also, the story was a little drawn out. The author seemed to be trying to create a more realistic & meaningful relationship by letting us watch it build and grow over time rather than the instalove that's normally the M.O. for YA novels. By the end of the book, though, I didn't feel like the trials they took the time to go through really added enough to the relationship to make it worth having read through it. I may have preferred the instalove in this case.All in all, an ok book. It kept me reading. Like I said, at this point, I'm wishing I hadn't picked up the second book. I just didn't connect with the story or the characters enough to really want to keep reading about them. I'm only about 40 pages into that one, though, so maybe this one will blow my socks off. We'll see.