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One Breath Away
One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
In 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 wi...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780778313656
ISBN-10: 0778313654
Publication Date: 6/19/2012
Pages: 400
Edition: Original
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 91 ratings
Publisher: Mira
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed One Breath Away on + 115 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Gudenkauf's One Breath Away was an interesting story told in an interesting way. The action--a gunman who breaks into a school and holds teachers and students hostage--takes place in a small town in Iowa over the course of one day. The story is told from multiple points of view: a teacher; a police officer; Augie, a student who is trapped in the school with her little brother, P.J., and Augie and P.J.'s grandfather. Part of the novel deals with trying to identify the gunman and his agenda. The other part of the novel delves into the backstories of the teacher, police officer and Augie's family. Good read.
reviewed One Breath Away on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book takes place in Broken Branch, Iowa--a small town with a small school. On the day before Spring Break, a gunman walks into the school, enters a classroom, and holds the teacher and students hostage.

The story is told from 6 (if I remember correctly) points of view--the mother of students at the school who is recovering from an accident in Arizona, her father, who is estranged from her, her oldest child, a police officer, a teacher, and a police officer at the school. Some of these characters are more interesting than others. I found myself more interested in the teacher's viewpoint and the child's. Through the telling, you learn about the complicated family dynamics that exist among the main family.

Being a schoolteacher myself who has experienced a lockdown (although nothing even remotely as scary as a gunman at my school--thank God!), I was more fascinated by the way that the community tried to cope with the children being held hostage, as well as the bravery the teacher displayed.

This is NOT a story about bullied teens or disaffected youth shooting up a school. It is more of a mystery about who the shooter is (he is not revealed until very late in the book). There are no Columbine style multiple shootings either.

I enjoyed this more than I liked Gudenkauf's last book and I was kept turning the pages to see who the shooter was. Enjoyable.
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reviewed One Breath Away on + 23 more book reviews
Once again I've read a book that I feel should have more than a five star rating. It puzzles me a little that it has an overall rating 3.98 rating.

Maybe that's because of the subject. This book deals with a school hostage situation and once I started it I could put it down.

It takes place in a small community, where a gunman has taken a classroom hostage at gunpoint. In the book you find out the background of one of the teachers, one of the long time families. The daughter of which left home long ago and swore never to return, but after a bad accident she sent her children to live with her parents while she recuperates. It also tells of the female police officer that the gunman has requested come to the classroom.
reviewed One Breath Away on + 91 more book reviews
Definitely my least favorite of her three books. There was so much back story that I started not to care what was going on in the present day. I just didn't have any interest in the characters.