Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Breathe by Elena Dillon - Review

Breathe by Elena Dillon
Published: December 2012

Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.

In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.

My review:
Jasmine, her mom, and her younger siblings have to move away from California so that they can have a shot at a somewhat normal life. They know nothing will ever ease the pain of losing Daisy, but they need to move away from the sympathy and the prying eyes and start over where everyone doesn't know what happened. And, they think, they are moving away from the murderer, who was never caught. When they arrive in Lafayette, Jasmine quickly makes good friends and catches the eye of charming, handsome Easton. Breathe is mostly focused on the love story between Jasmine and Easton, while always present is Jasmine's daily struggle to have a normal life, put everything into "compartments" so that she can cope with the stress, and the knowledge that the murderer is out there and may even be in Lafayette.

"Most days I can almost forget someone murdered my sister. I try to go through every day like a normal sixteen-year-old. I can eat breakfast, go to school, do homework, but then something will remind me that my family will never be the same." This was the amazing beginning to Breathe, and I was immediately hooked and interested in the story and in Jasmine.

As someone raised in Arkansas, I was tickled to see Smackover as the place Jasmine's brother, Caedan, picked as his choice of where to move. I also lived in Louisiana for several years, and that was one of the reasons I so readily agreed to review this book. I wish the Louisiana vibe had come through more. Unfortunately, I felt like this story could have taken place anywhere, and I was only reminded it was set in Louisiana when Ms. Dillon pointed it out. Instead of the author just referring to their strong accent, I would have liked for there to have been at least a few times where that accent was actually portrayed with the words used and the way those words would have been pronounced. I also really would have liked to see a few times when common words that are used in Southern Louisiana had been added into the dialogue. 

Besides the Louisiana feel not coming through for me, I really enjoyed Breathe. Jasmine was a well developed character that a reader can easily empathize with even if you don't agree with or understand her way of coping with things. Overall, this is a good, solid, sweet young adult romance with a lot of suspense mixed in. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense.

A copy was provided for review.

About the author:
Elena lives and writes in a suburb North of Los Angeles.  She has never lived anywhere besides California which is probably a good thing since she hates being cold and is terrified to drive in the snow. She loves being a wife and a mother to her three kids and three dogs, although really the bulldog is the fourth child who has never matured beyond the toddler stage.

A self-proclaimed nerd, she has been writing since she was a child. She has only recently, however, come out of the closet about this to her family and friends.  They now understand better, but not completely, why she talks about characters in stories as if they are real people.

Find out more at

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