by Katie McGarry
Read: January 14-18, 2019
Published: January 22, 2019 by Tor Teen
Source: Netgalley - TY!
Category: YA, Contemporary, Best Friends to More, Second Chance, Abuse,
Book Description: Jesse Lachlin is cursed.
So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.
Scarlett Copeland is psychic.
Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.
Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…
I am a big fan of Katie McGarry's books and Only a Breath Apart features many of the elements I've come to expect (and love) in her stories. This book features a wealthy, seemingly straight-laced girl who is hiding a messy, difficult home life, who falls in love with the misunderstood, but big-hearted bad boy from the opposite side of the tracks. Surprisingly, and despite the difficult hand this boy has been dealt, he has a better support system than the girl does. These two semi-broken people find each other and work their way forward and out of miserable situations together, fighting to stay upright while getting knocked down along the way. I was rooting for them the whole time.
More specifically, this book features Scarlett and Jesse, former childhood best friends, who are no longer speaking. But when Jesse's grandmother dies, Scarlett goes to the funeral and slowly, and very tentatively a new friendship begins to rekindle between them. I really enjoyed Jesse and Scarlett as a pair, and would definitely say they're one of my favorites of McGarry's couples. I fell for each of them and just wanted better things for them both.
Scarlett's home life, and and all she's been facing with her family was particularly hard to read about (be prepared for domestic violence), and I wanted nothing more than a magical cure to her situation. But what I always appreciate about McGarry's books is that she paints a realistic picture of the issues that her teens face and what it takes to get out of them. As hard it is to read, there are no cutting corners in this story. But what I loved was seeing Scarlett and Jesse find support and love in their lives, sometimes in places that they didn't expect, and then put in the work to love themselves and move forward from their current situations.
Also I enjoyed many of the secondary characters in this book, especially, Jesse's cousin and psychic Glory. I wasn't sure how the supernatural elements - Jesse's family is under a curse - would play into the story, especially with McGarry's books being so realistic about life, but I liked the way they were woven into the tale.
I'm a forever fan of Katie McGarry and I'll definitely be reading whatever she writes next.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone. McGarry often does companion series, and Jesse has 3 friends with some information teased about them but not fleshed out, and I could potentially see stories for each of them. But I haven't heard anything confirmed.