The Air We Breathe is another winning novel from Christa Parrish, the author of Home Another Way, Finalist for the 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction and Watch Over Me, winner of the 2010 ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction. Teenager Molly is trapped in an odd wax museum, a prisoner of her own inner fears. As the pizza delivery boy tries to lure outside her "cell walls," he begins to wonder if she is forced to remain there by her secretive mother. As the early story unfolds, it appears that Molly truly wants to leave her life behind and walk the Dorsett Beach sands with young Tobias. Perhaps, the problem is really the mother and Molly is protecting her.
Just as I was settling into unraveling the perplexities of this story, Parrish switches the setting to seven years earlier, another city and state, another story. Claire spends her days hiding behind the black and white squares of her crossword puzzles. The world of clues and intersecting words protects her from the memories of her failed marriage and the death of her two children in a car accident -- an accident she feels was her fault. Then one day she notices a young girl on a swing and feeling an odd emotional connection offers to give the little girl a push. Hanna, the girl on the swing, speaks to Claire, telling her that she can see the hurt in Claire's eyes, the same hurt Hanna has hidden within herself. Claire soon learns that Hanna, a victim of severe trauma, has not willingly spoken in weeks and Hanna's mother grudgingly believes that Claire may be a link in Hanna's recovery. Then suddenly, weeks later, Hanna and her mother disappear.
I received an e-copy of the title for review purposes. Opinions are my own.