Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Harlequin
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 87% or B+
Buy It: Amazon
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
My Thoughts::
Any book that can give me the feel of a Jodi Picoult book without all of the court mumbo jumbo that is kind of hard to understand and takes me out of the story. When I read the summary of this book I was immediately interested. I felt invested in the story already and wanted to see how things would turn out.

Usually multiple narrators makes the story choppy and hard to understand because there is too much going on and it's hard to keep track of everything. But with books that take place in such a short amount of time you want to get as much out of the story as possible. It was done very well in this book. Things moved fluidly from one character to the next and did it in such a way that kept up the suspense until the big reveal at the end.

Let's talk more about this suspense and mystery. Through each narrator's chapters they ask the same question; Who is is in the school with the gun? Each character offers different clues and different ideas about who it could be. Everytime I thought I knew something about who the man was, another character would disprove my theory. I was kept guessing until the very end and I had no clue. That was the best part. Usually I'm able to figure it out before the reveal, but this time I couldn't.

I was able to connect to all of the characters in different ways which made me see the story from several different angles. You can see how carefully the narrators were chosen by the author because they all just fit together perfectly and help you get the most knowledge about the situation.

Overall I think this was a book that can really hit you hard because of it's serious content. There was plenty of action and suspense to keep you on your toes the entire time.

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