Sometimes a New Adult novel handles a social issue extremely well, and this is one of those novels.
Ten Tiny Breaths is the story of Kacey and her struggle to overcome the trauma of a car accident, of which she was the lone survivor. It's an excellent commentary on the way we handle stress and emotional overload. And it's a nice romance as well.
I appreciated greatly that the plot here is believable. The people that Kacey gets involved with are reasonable folks; they're not the most savoury of characters, but they aren't entirely bad. If there is something that enters into the plausability factor, it is simply that people who generally work in strip clubs and live in furnished, run-down apartment buildings are all really nice people who care for each other. That's probably a stretch. But here, it works.
Kacey is not your general damsel-in-distress. She has a whole host of coping mechanisms. And for someone dealing with her real-life issues there is a real point of connection. Her feelings are conflicted. She's a mess. And she doesn't try to cover that up on any kind of level. This character is honest about her failings and is endearing because of them. She takes positive steps to move away from the bad things in her life, and when she gets tripped up, we are right there with her feeling her pain and anguish.
Trent, although somewhat stereotypical in looks and manner, isn't stereotypical after all. The way KA Tucker weaves him into Kacey's story is just interesting enough to be unpredictable. When an author can keep me guessing he/she gets high marks. And I didn't expect for the story to go where it did.
The secondary characters are just delightful. Storm, Dan, Mia, Livie, Cain, Nate, Bob . . . they're all likeable and entertaining. Somehow Tucker has managed to give them just that slight bit more depth than I would have expected. It's as if they're each a bit of a cliche, but with a twist.
I couldn't put this book down, and it was a relatively quick read. It was engaging and well-paced. Not only did I not get bored, I didn't get easily distracted.
The ending was neatly tied up, which threw the reality factor out the window. But in these sorts of books I don't think we readers really care. We aren't looking for real life, after all. We want a beautiful romance between flawed individuals who are struggling to overcome their own personal issues. We want that happy ending for them. And in this case, the fairytale opens up and takes over the entire ending.
The story did a great job of addressing PTSD and the serious damage it can do to a life. It also handled the issue of drunk driving extremely well. The idea that people do the best they can with the information they have is paramount, and if that isn't reality I don't know what is.
The book is funny at times, certainly entertaining, and the characters are endearing. There are so many books in this genre which try to tackle various social issues; this one does it well. It's an honest peek at engaging people. And I'm looking forward to more from this author.