One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

For some reason, novels that center around school shootings, or schools under lockdown. Maybe it’s because I grew up after Columbine, and can remember having a lockdown drill every month and just wondering how a person can reach a point where endangering the lives of children is what they think of. For whatever the reason, I am drawn to these books with the hope that they will be real and gritty and completely unpretty.

One Breath Away did not disappoint. Typically, I don’t really enjoy jumping around several viewpoints. But it really added something to this novel. It adds to the drama. You know pieces, but not the whole. There are so many different outcomes each viewpoint presents that it’s hard to figure out which is the right one. I was holding my breath through the entire book.

The lives of each character are examined, but in a way that makes each detail important to what is happening in the novel. Each detail helps provide the reasoning for how each character acts, thinks, and speaks. It highlights the main story in a way that just relaying the hostage plot couldn’t do. It makes the players so much more real and it makes your heart ache with each unanswered question.

One Breathe Away was a breathtakingly good novel that will pull at your heart and having you wanting to read faster than ever to find out how it all ends. It’s definitely a book people need to read and I’m looking forward to reading more of Gudenkauf’s novels.

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