Ten Tiny Breaths

Ten Tiny Breaths  - K.A. Tucker I don’t read a lot of Contemporary YA or New Adult fiction. When I do, it’s because I am either familiar with the author or the synopsis grabs me. To be clear, teen angst, high school melodrama and sappy love aren’t what grabs me. To grab me a book in these genres has to promise to make me feel – in a very big way. Among some of my favorites – books that I am so glad that I took a chance on in this genre – are Graffiti Moon by Cathy Crowley, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long & Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. There are probably a few more, but for me, these are the stand-outs. I knew halfway through this book that Ten Tiny Breaths would be among them.“Just breathe,” my mom would say. “Ten tiny breaths…Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”This is the opening sentence to the Prologue of Ten Tiny Breaths. It’s also the mantra that Kacey lives by, only she has no idea what it means. It’s the most memorable thing that her mother ever told her, and she repeated it to her often. It also sets the tone for an incredible, heartbreakingly beautiful story. I know I can’t come close to making this review worthy of the depth of feeling this book evoked, but I’ll give it my best shot.Kacey was broken. More broken than any character I’ve read in a long time. She suffered more than anyone her age should but she survived. Kind of. The only thing keeping her semi-together was the fact that she still had her little sister, Livie. She was the reason she even tried… or pretended to.Trent was the bright spot in Kacey’s ‘new’ life but she kept her distance… or tried. He was kind, patient and full of contradictions and seemed to be just as attracted to Kacey as she was to him. He was the first person that even came close to breaking through the wall she built around herself, but he was also mysterious. I loved Trent from the beginning and I never stopped – regardless.There’s so much that I loved about this book, but a lot of what I loved I can’t talk about here. You have to read it to understand.The supporting characters were an important part of Ten Tiny Breaths. Storm and Mia were the family that both Livie and Kacey needed. They not only gave Livie a much needed sense of normalcy, the also helped break through a few more bits of Kacey’s wall. Their love for both girls was easy and genuine. It helped balance out all the bad stuff, even though their lives weren’t exactly perfect. The second ‘family’ that Kacey acquired was the staff of Penny’s. They were full of surprises, trust me. Nothing is exactly as it seems, ever. At least one of the characters that impressed me the most (besides Kacey and Trent) wasn’t introduced until late in the story. You’ll know exactly who I’m talking about as soon as you meet him. *wink* Then there was Livie. She was more than just Kacey’s little sister, she was her rock. I loved Livie. As meek as she seemed, she was stronger than anyone really knew and she proved it more than once.This book was so full of… everything. The emotions it evoked ran the gamut – joy, pain, heartbreak – you name it. What made it so amazing was the story was told in a way that not just described it, but made you feel it…. almost tangibly. This was a story about Denial, Resistance, Acceptance, Dependence, Withdrawal, Breakdown, Recovery and Forgiveness, which is exactly what K.A. Tucker named each section of this book… beginning with being Comfortably Numb. Kacey was at the center of it all, but she wasn’t the only one experiencing these emotions.“Just breathe,” my mom would say. “Ten tiny breaths…Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”Beautiful words. Words that had a whole new meaning by the end of the story. Yes, there were tears. Yes, there was heartbreak and grief. Mostly it was a story about healing and hope. This is a story that I dare you to read and not feel something.