Friday, December 27, 2019

Another One?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Jesse Lachlin has always felt a deep, almost otherworldly connection to his family's land.  All the 17-year-old wants is to cultivate it, work it, and breathe it in every day for the rest of his life.  When the grandmother who raised him dies, the land should go to Jesse.  The only problem is the will, in which Jesse's deceased guardian insists that he must prove his ability to care for the land for a year.  After that, a three-person tribunal will vote on whether or not he can keep it.  Angry but determined, Jesse will do whatever it takes to prove himself.

Scarlett Copeland is shocked when Jesse Lachlin, the boy-next-door and the person she used to run to whenever she needed comfort, suddenly wants to be friends again.  They haven't spoken since he shut her out, then humiliated her at school.  Scarlett is shocked when he informs her that she is one of the people his grandmother selected for the tribunal and that, in exchange for her vote, he will aid her in escaping her father's strict hold on her so that she can attend the college of her choice.  Despite her reservations, Scarlett agrees.  

As the two work together to get what they both want, they find themselves rediscovering each other and the relationship that once meant the world to them both.  Will their tentative reconnection last?  Will either of them get what they really want?  Or will they both end up stuck in place instead of on the way to achieving their longed-for dreams? 

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry is another heavy, dramatic two-broken-kids-come-together-and-heal-each-other story, the likes of which can be found in almost every contemporary YA novel on the market.  This one brings nothing new or fresh to the genre, but it is a compelling tale featuring two sympathetic characters who are easy to root for.  Neither Jesse nor Scarlett act or talk like real teens, even old-souled ones, and their situation seems implausible and overly dramatic.  Despite all this, I did like the novel overall.  I can't say I loved it, but it was an a-little-bit-better-than-average read for me.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson and a million other similar YA novels) 

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Only a Breath Apart from the generous folks at Tor for the purpose of Cybils Award judging.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. The thing that seems different about this one is that it takes place on a farm. That is a rare setting for a YA novel and means it will appeal to a different set of teens.

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