Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths - K.A. Tucker

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Items ticked off: 16

I think that, considering all, Ten Tiny Breaths had great potential. The premise is intriguing. It had a plot. The heroine wasn't your typical blushing, shy, insecure woman. To be completely honest, the first 20% or so I liked it. Then things too a turn for the worse. And when I say worse, it took the road that led to a cliff, and instead of saying hey, there's a cliff there, we should slow down and take another route, Ten Tiny Breaths decided to head straight out on the cliff, not looking back and ultimately crashed and burned.

Am I being harsh? Maybe, but I don't think so. While Ten Tiny Breaths tries to be different from other NA novels, it fails on most parts. It has too many problematic themes that aren't addressed or portrayed fairly or with sensibility. Here's what happened: the author had a good idea but instead of taking a realistic approach to (several) subjects as the story developed, she wrote herself into a corner and the ending became one unrealistic mess. Considering how all big reveals were, well, revealed in in the last 20%, those issues needed to be solved. Instead of handling them in a realistic way they became clichéd and highly unrealistic, at parts even offensive.

Let's take a look at what we're working with here. Kacey, our heroine, has just run away with her sister from their Aunt and Uncle which they lived with after a car accident that left their entire family dead. The trigger for them running away was that said uncle attempted to molest Livie (Kacey's younger sister), and Kacey decided it was time for them to leave. They end up in Miami and move into an apartment complex where they meet new people. The story, however, is mostly about Kacey, and we need to talk about Kacey.

Kacey is not easy to like. She suffers from PTSD and is bitter after her parents' death, and is now shielding herself from the rest of the world. But, despite knowing Kacey's tragic background, I can't sympathize with her. She shames every woman she meets, assumes all men are misogynic pigs, is violent and destructive to people around her, uses people and throws them away. I couldn't quite warm up to her, and especially not when she says, to her younger sister that was almost molested by their older uncle,
“You want to make friends with old men, Livie? If that’s the case, we could have stayed home.”

Yes, I struggled with Kacey's character. In the grand scheme of things though, her personality is one of the smaller issues with this novel. I could probably write a shorter book on all the things that disturbed me with this novel. The slut shaming. The portrayal of minorities – other reviews has explained this brilliantly. The misogyny. The romanticization of stalking. Mental illness, depression and anxiety (and of course PTSD). For me, with personal experience, the portrayal of therapy and the therapist was highly offensive and left me with a bad taste in my mouth for so many reasons.

Then again, if we say these issues weren't as bad as they were – and they were bad – the story wouldn't have been that much better. It's too unrealistic, but most of all, predictable. The big plot twist? I guessed it at 40%, and had a feeling about it even earlier. This twist have been done before and has been done better. Just looking at the twist, it was presented in a juvenile way full of emotional manipulating. I'm not a fan of that either, actually.

In the end Ten Tiny Breaths has too many problematic events and themes that I simply cannot rate it higher than 1.5 stars.