Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review: One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

You guys knew this was coming, I’m sure. I ranted and raved about Heather Gudenkauf’s other two novels, The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. After completing These Things Hidden, I discovered that Heather Gudenkauf’s third novel was to come out on Tuesday, June 26th. I patiently waited pre-ordered the novel immediately for under $10. It was cheapest to get the Kindle version, so I did. It was then that I discovered the beauty of pre-ordering books on the Kindle: they’re automatically downloaded to your Kindle at midnight. I may have waited up until midnight, just to check…

I’m sure you understand. Here’s the Goodreads summary, for those of you who think I’m nuts:

One Breath AwayIn her most emotionally charged novel to date, "New York Times" bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered. 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.

Now you understand, right?!? I had to have it! So, I picked up my Kindle around 7 that night and prayed the battery wouldn’t die (which, BTW, kudos to Amazon for producing good quality Kindle battery life). I finished the novel around 2 or 3 AM.

As with her other novels, Heather Gudenkauf tells the story from multiple perspectives. Readers get an inside peek at the school, both in and outside the classroom where the shooter is. We also get a closely related outside perspective from a police officer whose daughter is in the class where the shooter is—but happens to be absent that day. Additionally, Gudenkauf exposes us to a family where the mother tries to do all in her power to keep her children from growing up like she did, but fails to do so due to a freak accident. We meet her father and hear his perspective, in addition to the perspective of the children’s mother. The end had a semi-predictable twist, but the motive was certainly unexpected. Bottom line? Pick this book up ASAP. Not only was it a quick, fascinating read, but the character development is captivating.

Here’s where I’m at with my page goals after this book:

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 400
2012 Reading Goal: 12,643/15,000

Has anyone else read a small series of INCREDIBLE books this summer that rocked your world? Do tell in the comments below! :)

1 comment:

  1. I love books with multiple perspectives and this one sounds delightful. I love when a book consumes me so much i forgo a good nights sleep...LOL What an awesome review!


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