“On a bitter March day, as a sudden snowstorm envelops the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, an unknown man with a gun enters the town’s only school and takes a classroom of children hostage. As awareness of the situation spreads, the panicked community is ready to do anything to protect their children, but can only watch and wait.”
“One Breath Away” by Heather Gudenkauf
This story is written from the point of view of five different characters. You will meet, Holly, a mother, that lives in Arizona who is currently in the hospital recovering from severe burns. Her two kids, Augie and P.J. are staying with her dad, Will, in Iowa. Another character you hear from is Will, the grandfather of the story who is a cow farmer and is determined to get his grandchildren out of the school before something ad happens to them. The next person we hear from is Augie, Will’s granddaughter, who is stuck in the school with a gunman. She is determined to get to her brother no matter what the cost. Anther person we meet is Mrs. Oliver, the 3rd grade teacher of P.J. and the one who has to stay strong while the gunman waves his gun around in her classroom. And lastly you meet Officer Meg Barrett, her daughter was suppose to be in Mrs. Oliver’s classroom that day but her dad asked to take her a day early for Spring break.
Usually books written from many different points of views are hard for me to read through. But in the case of “One Breath Away”, I loved that we could get the different aspects of the story all at once. You have two characters who are on the inside of the school, you have the police point of view, a grandparent’s point of view and feel how the parents feel during this long time of not knowing if their children are ok and you have a mother who is far away and drugged up in the hospital but plays an important part in the whole story as a whole.
I couldn’t put this book down. My heart was racing and all i wanted to do was kick down the doors to the school and scoop up each and every kids. I cried thinking of how traumatized the little 3rd grade kids were going to be. My heart raced each time Augie did what we’d call a “stupid” move but one I think we’d all do. And I felt helpless “sitting” with the parents in the local cafe waiting to hear what was going on. The story really pulled me in and I kept hoping everyone would come out ok.
I loved this book and would totally recommend adults to read it. I think it would be too much for a teen to read. And just a warning, if you’re a parent it’s going to impact you a lot. The next day I hugged and kissed my little girl a million times and I made sure I said “I love you” a million more. The thought of it happening at our school raced through my brain.
I want to add a side note. The book was really cool to read for it’s location. Although Broken Branch is a fictitious place, I know exactly where Waterloo, IA is (about 2 hours from my home town) and drive on I80 often. So the book gave me this reality feeling while reading it.
COME JOIN THE TOUR!!
“I want to take a sip of water from the glass sitting on my tray, but my one working hand holds the phone. The other lies useless at my side. “Are you okay? Where are you?”
There are a few seconds of quiet and then Augie continues”
* Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate my review. This post reflects my honest, personal opinion and experience with the product which may differ from yours. Product information courtesy of the sponsor. No monetary compensation was provided for this post.