Review: One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Name of book: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publication: June 26th 2012 by Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Timesbestselling 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 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 Rating --

4/5 Oscars : Really liked it.

-- My Thoughts --

     I have not read anything by the author, but from the blogging world, I know that her books are popular. And I consider her as one of the authors that I will always be on the look out for.
     Holly, Augie, Will, Meg, and Mrs.Oliver's lives change drastically when a gunman enters the school, one cold day. Mrs. Oliver will do anything to keep her little students safe and sound from the gunman. Meg will go to extreme measures to do her duty and find out who the gunman in the local school is. Will will do anything to save his two grandchildren locked up in the school. Augie is afraid of the gunman, but she will do anything to save her brother from the fate of death. And Holly can't help but fear for the lives of her two children who are facing one crazed gunman miles away from her.
     School shootings are becoming horribly common these days. Whether it's a bullied student or a crazed father or a reckless teacher. Heather Gudenkauf realistically describes how one event can change the lives of her five main characters. Heather's writing is simple, serene, and believable. She made five different voices for her five characters so well, that even if the chapter didn't start with their names, I would have definitely known which one was telling the story. Their voices were THAT unique.
     This book reminded me of Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes (a huge statement!). But, while Jodi Picoult explores the aftermath of such an incident, Heather Gudenkauf focuses on the instincts kicking in while IN the situation. They are both very different, but beautifully unique authors. Definitely reading more from Heather! This was an imaginative plot-driven story, and I will definitely recommend it to anyone willing to read!


  1. I'm dying to read this book! I need to remember to add it to my goodreads to-read list. Thanks for the review ^^

  2. I had seen this one on Netgalley a while back but didn't end up requesting it. Now I wish I had! I love books about school schootings for some reason. Maybe because, as you said, it has become such a prevalent issue in the world.

  3. I really enjoyed this book too. It was pretty intense. I liked how she had so many point of views.

    Shannon @ Rex Robot Reviews

    1. Yape, and executed them so perfectly.

  4. This sounds really good and I like that it takes you into the moment things are happening. Awesome review!


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