I hardly dare say it, but I needed a break from romance for a bit. I mean, I wanted a story with romance. I just didn't want to read a traditional romance. So I opted for a book that a lot of my friends on Goodreads have read recently and adored. Of late, I've noticed there's a lot of people shelving books as New Adult. Naturally, I have no idea what this was, so I Googled. Lord, do I love Google. Basically, New Adult are books that are between YA and more adult books. So they often feature young characters dealing with more grown up problems, and of course, romances. When I found this out, my eyes bugged out. My two favourite genres are sort of meshed into one now: New Adult.
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 262 pages
Published December 11th 2012
by Papoti BooksISBN13 9780991686001
But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.
Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.
But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.
Ten Tiny Breaths is a book I picked to introduce me to this genre. And it certainly has caught my attention. The writing was polished, with just the right level of grittiness for the story and characters. Kasey and her sister Livie are essentially, teenage run aways trying to survive in the world. They have suffered a lot--a horrible drunk driving accident killed their parents, Kasey's boyfriend and best friend. Kasey survived, but her body and soul were crushed by the accident and while the doctors have knitted her body back together, Kasey is an emotional wreck. Livie and Kasey were sent to live with their aunt and uncle, who did not provide either of these girls with the proper care they needed after such a loss. In fact, Livie was nearly attacked by her uncle which is why Kasey decided they needed to disappear. So when the book opens, these girls are scared, friendless, broke and basically falling apart.
Enter Storm and Trent. Storm is their neighbour, and she works at an adult bar. She has a little girl, Mia, that Livie, starts to baby sit. Just because Livie is good and sweet that way. Kasey doesn't really want friends. She's too emotionally closed off, too broken to have friendships. She also has a bad ass temper that she keeps in control by constant kick boxing at the gym, and she can't stand to have anyone touch her hands. But Storm makes herself their friend before Kasey knows it, and Kasey decides to go to work at the bar with Storm. Now, while they work at an adult bar, these girls aren't strippers. They are bar tenders. And the guys that work there as bouncers are good guys who look out for all the girls that work at this place. And it's here that Kasey really lets Trent get under her skin.
She's met him before, and there was instant attraction between these two. Of course, Kasey doesn't do relationships, so she's not really interested in Trent. But Trent shows up at the bar every night and just watches her. And then one night, Kasey holds his hand. It gets Trent kicked out because there's a no touching the girls policy at the bar, but it's a huge moment for Kasey. To be able to touch another person breaks her open a little bit. Trent is this amazing, sweet guy who has so much care and love for Kasey that I kinda just fell in love with him without realizing it. Kinda like Kasey did. And while the story is progressing beautifully, and I thought Kasey was on the way to healing, to moving on from all the horror she's survived, there's a little bump in the story. It bugged me, but I ignored it, because Trent came back after all.
That's when this story tilts. And shifts. It was like the ground under my feet just went whoosh, and I was suddenly elsewhere. I said that Kasey lost her parents, friend and boyfriend in a drunk driving accident. We hear that story all of the time sadly, of people dying because of drinking and driving. A lot of us probably don't think about it much. I know I don't. But where this story shifts to forced me to really think about drunk driving. About everyone involved. And it broke my heart because I knew the characters in the story that this touched. And I saw how it shattered their lives. I really applaud K.A Tucker for dealing with the subject in such a touching, and honest way.
Kasey never understood what her mother meant when she said, "ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them." But she learns what that means. She learns a lot about life, love, loss, and forgiveness in this book. They were hard lessons for her, but I was so happy that Kasey found to strength to learn them. This is one book I won't soon be forgetting.
5 glittering stars