Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Posted by in book, book-Movie, giveaway, review | 34 Comments

“One Breath Away” book review & giveaway

“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.”

My Thoughts-
“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.

FIND it-
author’s website


“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”

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* 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.

  1. Karen B says:

    She was born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment.

  2. Andrea B. says:

    I would freak out if my kids were held hostage! I would probably panic, go numb, and my heart would be racing!

  3. I learned that she was born in Wagner, South Dakota.

  4. I would probably be in a panic. Although if I could help get in the school and get the kids out safely I would. I think I would be at the point where I would do anything regarding the costs.

  5. I wwould be scared to death if my child was in school with a gunman. Once my 16 year old was in an airport that was shut down due to a gunman. I couldn’t find out any information. I turned the TV on and found out everything! She was in a different section than the gunman but the entire airport was closed and she and some other children were put in a hotel for the night, and allowed to call us. Whew.

  6. Elaine Rosser says:

    First I would freak out then I would start praying.

  7. Kathy S says:

    Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota.

  8. kimberly schotz says:

    Oh my goodness I have no idea what I would do. This is a parents nightmare.

  9. Leanna Morris says:

    Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.

  10. If I found out my kids or any kids I knew were in a school hostage situation, I don’t know how I would react. I’d panic and cry a ton, I’m sure, but i hope I’d be able to have some semblence of what I needed to do.

  11. Charlotte Padgett says:

    She was born in South Dakota, and in the same circustances, I would probaby be a basket case.

  12. Christie says:

    Heather has a degree in elementary education.

  13. The author has a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine.

  14. Sam Sain says:

    I learned that the author was born in South Dakota and she is the youngest in a family of six children. She now lives in Iowa with her husband, her three children, and her dog.

  15. Anita Yancey says:

    I would be scared to death if my kid were held hostage, and I would be pacing the floor and wringing my hands. But I would leave it up to my husband who is a police officer, and the rest of his department to handle it.

  16. Pamalot says:

    If this happened to my son, I would be praying and asking everyone around me for support.

  17. She was born in Wagner, South Dakota

  18. At one month of age, Heather’s family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her dad was employed as a guidance counselor and her mom as a school nurse.

    MY FB ID: http://www.facebook.com/ladybugcda

  19. Christine says:

    I learned Heather has a degree in elementary education!

  20. Her degree is in elementary education

  21. ewhatley says:

    I can’t even imagine learning that my child was in a school with a gunman. I would gather my family and friends and pray. This book sounds like an awesome read.

  22. I would pray, and don’t know what else, it would be horrific!


  24. Shaunda E says:

    She was born in South Dakota.

  25. Erin COok says:

    I would do everything to try to get my child out of the school safely

  26. Melissa B. says:

    I would pray like crazy!

  27. Sarah Yurga says:

    If one of my kids was held hostage in a school, I would be outside begging for their release on a bullhorn.

  28. susan smoaks says:

    i would pray that my child made it home safe and sound

  29. Marianna says:

    I learned that she was born in Wagner, SD

  30. Brenda Elsner says:

    I would be freaking out, but with all the adrenaline, I would do whatever I could to help get kids out of there no matter what the cost.

  31. Trisha McKee says:

    If my child were in a school with a gunman, i’d be right there inside with her. I can’t even think about it. What a true nightmare!

  32. The author was born in Wagner, SD and is the youngest of 6 children.

  33. Buddy Garrett says:

    She has a degree in elementary education.

  34. shirley zolenski says:

    I would be there so fast and hope I didn’t have a heart attack on the way there