Sixteen-year-old Emma Townsend feels as if she doesn’t quite fit in anywhere within her own life. A scholarship student at the exclusive Lockwood Prep, Emma is used to feeling out of place among the other wealthy and somewhat materialistic students. In fact she mostly seems to only find solace within the pages of a book. Without many friends she has become accustomed to being alone in many ways but it still hurts at times especially when she feels surrounded by individuals who just don’t understand her. Even at home she maintains a somewhat strained relationship with her father and stepmother as she still grieves for the loss of her mother at a very young age.
On the love front Emma remains solitary as well since her main romantic relationships consist of unquenchable crushes on both her much older English teacher and a once inseparable childhood friend. In the case of her childhood companion, Gray Newman was the little boy with which she spent countless hours of play but now he is an undeniably handsome teen who happens to be insanely popular. Both these characteristics seem to now make Gray exist completely in another world from a quiet bookish wallflower like Emma. In fact it seems both her loves are achingly unreachable much like the famous character of Mr. Rochester within her mother’s favorite book Jane Eyre.
Since escape into books has at times become Emma’s only relief she finds comfort in reading a novel so close to her mother’s heart. However nothing could ever prepare her for what happens after a freak accident when she actually becomes part of the story. While innocently reading Jane Eyre the classic tale becomes all too real when Emma finds herself lost within the story as the main character of Jane. Is Emma Jane or is Jane Emma? It’s almost too confusing to decipher as many of the actual people and events in Emma’s real life become one with what was once simply a book.
As contemporary young adult fiction and a literary masterpiece combine A Breath of Eyre becomes a work full of connections and twists and turns that will keep readers glued to its pages. Emma’s life at Lockwood Prep and her beloved Jane Eyre intercept to create a dream-like and yet remarkably real world in which to get completely lost. Amazingly within this weaving together of Charlotte Bronte’s beloved tome and the life of a modern day teenager, Mont has managed to also create characters that transcend to take on dual roles within both settings creating a well-blended piece of fiction that is exceptionally unique within the arena of young adult literature.
A Breath of Eyre truly stands out as a seamless combination of Emma’s every day life and the fantasy world that is fiction from another time. In short A Breath of Eyre truly becomes a breath of fresh air for readers looking for that special touch that makes a book stand out among the pack.