Christa's Reviews > One Breath Away

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
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's review
Jun 13, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebook-arc
Read from June 06 to 10, 2012

One Breath Away is a great example of why Heather Gudenkauf has quickly become a must-read author for me. She is a master storyteller, and I loved every second that I spent reading this book. The author was able to rachet the tension so high that I felt like I was on pins and needles, breathless, throughout the entire story. Gudenkauf created characters that I quickly cared about, and I sympathized with them and hoped for a positive outcome to their situation. Telling the story from different viewpoints worked very well, and I was completely captivated from cover to cover.

The citizens of the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa are confronted with some of their worst fears when an unknown gunman enters the local public school. As frantic parents and families gather to try to find out the fate of their beloved children, the police work to gather information and try to figure out how to diffuse the situation. Holly, a mother who has had to entrust her children to her father in Broken Branch while she recovers from horrific injuries, feels her world start crashing down again when she learns her two precious children are in the school. Augie, Holly's young daughter, is determined to get herself and her younger brother safely out of the school, and is willing to take great risks for the safety of her brother and other younger children. Mrs. Oliver is the 3rd grade teacher whose class the gunman has taken hostage. She will do anything for the safety of her students. Meg is a police officer whose daughter, Maria, a student in Mrs. Oliver's class, was thankfully absent from school on this terror filled day. Meg works desparately to figure out the identity of the gunman and to secure the safety of the children. Will, the grandfather of Augie and P.J., feels that he failed his daughter, Holly, while she was growing up, and he will not fail her now while her beloved children are in danger. Broken Branch is paralyzed by a snow storm while the gunman holds the fate of its children in his hands.

As an elementary teacher, this book dealt with some of my worst nightmares and the fear of how I would protect my students in a similar situation. The subject matter was handled in a very credible manner. I could feel the fear and the determination of the characters, and they really struck a chord with me. Having lived in rural Iowa, I felt that the atmosphere of the small town portrayed was perfectly captured. Although I absolutely loved Gudenkauf's first two novels, I feel right now that One Breath Away was even better. However, I imagine that if I read all of them again, I would say that about whichever of the three I was currently reading. I only wish Ms. Gudenkauf would turn them out faster. I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley.
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Reading Progress

06/06 page 85
06/07 page 150
38.0% ""Meg""
06/09 page 305
76.0% ""Augie"" 2 comments
02/03 marked as: read
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