From Goodreads: 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 with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
My Thoughts: I really like Heather Gudenkauf's books; they always seem to deal with a tough subject and are incredibly thought-provoking. One Breath Away is no different. The main issue is that a gunman is holding a school hostage but there are also a lot of other issues going on within the lives of the individual characters. What I loved about this book is that the characters are so real; they all were dealing with some serious issues but not of it seemed phony or unrealistic. This made them really easy to relate to and feel sympathy for and, unlike most books, I actually really liked all of the characters.
Not only are there really great characters in this book but the story is incredibly compelling. Like I said, there is a lot going on but this made me want to keep reading. The big question was who was the actual gunman and I must say I was pretty surprised to find out who it was. I honestly did not have any idea who it was until that information was revealed but it made perfect sense once I thought about it. There were just so many other possible suspects to choose from so it made for a really good twist at the end.
I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I am glad I did. I can't wait to see what Gudenkauf comes up with next. 4 stars.