One Breath Away
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Buy it Here!
By now you should know that I am open to reading any book set in or about Iowa. And after the last month of miserable heat, what is better than reading about Iowa in the middle of a blizzard?
One Breath Away is set in a very small Iowa town where Augie and PJ are living with their Grandfather while their Mom recovers from serious injuries sustained in a fire back in Arizona. Thirteen year old Augie is having a hard time adjusting to the changes, but no matter how much she hates the farm life, she will stick it out for PJ. Her "job" is to look after her younger brother and keep him safe and she takes her job very seriously.
It is a cold, snowy spring day in Iowa when an armed man enters their school and steps into PJ's classroom. The entire town gathers at the school with the hope that it will be resolved quickly and peacefully and they are there to get their kids out of there as soon as possible. Augie & PJ's grandfather, Will Thwaite, is there, too. His relationship with his daughter is strained at best and he knows that it would be destroyed forever if something ever happened to her children on his watch. But what can he do, but sit and wait, meanwhile Augie is in the school determined to rescue her little brother and keep him safe. Will she be able to keep him safe and herself out of harms way or are they doomed to become another tragic statistic?
One Breath Away is told from the alternating viewpoints of Augie, Will, Mrs. Oliver (the teacher) and Officer Meg Barrett, who the gunman demanded was the only person he wanted to speak with. We get to see this story unfold from the various viewpoints and it gives the story a unique perspective. But, having said that, I was finding the story to be agonizingly long in some parts, and it was really starting to annoy me. Then I realized that "agonizingly long" is probably EXACTLY how it feels like to be part of a situation like that. The waiting must be agonizing. After I realized that, the story seemed to become more tense and had me on the edge of my seat.
Bottom line, Heather Gudenkauf has started to make a name for herself with the dramatic themes to her books. One Breath Away is the next book to grip the readers of the world. While I would not say the author is in the same league as Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain quite yet, she is well on her way to becoming known for the same caliber of work. Give it a read and let me know what you think!