countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Furniture All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports tools Registry

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 22, 2012
I received this book for review from the publicist as part of the book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

One Breath Away is a highly-charged emotional read which I could not put down! It is about redemption, love, and forgiveness.

An armed man walks into a school in a small town and holds a classroom of Grade 3 students hostage, along with their teacher. The rest of the school is on lockdown, and the police are waiting the man out to determine his demands.

When I read the Press Release for this book and learned that it was told from five alternating viewpoints, I was a little hesitant. I love books told from two alternating points of view. When well done, I believe it greatly enhances the story. Unfortunately, I have read a couple of books where I found the storyline confusing because of the way it jumped back and forth between characters and timelines. This was not one of those cases! Gudenkauf masterfully handled the story not from two or three but FIVE points of view. Wow! She pulled it off! I was never confused about who was speaking. Each chapter was told from a different person's perspective and the person whose point of view was expressed was the name of the chapter. It took a bit for me to get into the heads of each of the characters, but I soon found my groove and I loved how the multiple points of view brought more dimension to each of the characters. Told in this manner, I really felt as though I knew the characters and had no trouble at all connecting with them.

The five points of view are told from:

- Meg Barrett: A police officer who is called to the scene.

- Mrs. Evelyn Oliver: The teacher in the Grade 3 classroom whose students are being held hostage by the madman.

- Holly Baker: The daughter of Will and Marlys Thwaite, she left the small town of Broken Branch at the age of 17 years and never looked back. A horrible accident leaves her hospitalized, and there is no one to care for her two children, Augie and P.J., except her parents.

- Augie Baker: The 13 year-old daughter of Holly Baker, whose brother is in Mrs. Oliver's third grade classroom.

- Will Thwaite: The father of Holly Baker, and the grandfather of Augie and P.J.

As the points of view changed from person to person, these characters became more and more complex. My heart broke for each of them, as the unresolved pain of past mistakes weighed on each of them. Gudenkauf tied all the storylines together into a satisfying conclusion.

Each character has a plausible explanation for who the gunman is. I did accurately predict the identity of the gunman, who wasn't revealed until nearly the end of the book.

My favourite quote:

"We're always one breath away from something, living or dying, sometimes it just can't be helped."

This is my first book by Gudenkauf, but it won't be my last! I am definitely looking into her backlist.

MY RATING: 5 stars!! It was superb! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it! Thanks to Media Muscle for the review copy!
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
At first sight the scenario of a lone gunman in a school holding hostages did not seem the most appealing of subjects for a plot, at least from my personal perspective. However, this book is so well written and so well plotted that it grabs the attention from the word go, and holds it throughout.

The format is that the chapters are short and each is written from the perspective of one of four people - Holly who is in hospital suffering from severe burns, Augie her daughter, Will her father, who is taking care of Augie and her brother PJ whilst their mother recovers, and Meg who is a police officer in Broken Branch and whose daughter, like Augie and PJ, attends the school.

The action is quite tense and definitely becomes a page turner as the climax to the siege approaches. This is also as much a book about interpersonal relationships, particularly the rather fraught relationship between Will and his daughter and granddaughter and a lot of background is covered so that we come to realise how this situation has come about. The reader sees the situation from everyone's perspective and has a certain sympathy with each viewpoint which is quite a feat by the author.

This book works on a number of different levels. There is the suspense of the main story and the ever present possibility of a violent outcome, and uncertainty as to the identity and motivation of the gunman. The latter is almost a sub plot as various inhabitants of Broken Branch feel that the perpetrator may be connected with them. Additionally it is easy to identify with the hopes and fears of the main participants and the characters all seem to be multi dimensional in contrast with some books I have read recently where it is not possible to identify with any of the players. Highly recommended!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 25, 2015
One Breath Away covers quite a few touchy subjects. As much as I wanted to LOVE this book, I found that the range of topics made following the plot line very confusing. The primary issue (well, incident) is the lockdown of the small town's only school, however I found that the main focus of the book was actually on the intricate lives and 'mistakes' of those involved.

Reading about a school lockdown from five different points-of-view made the first half of the book hard to get hooked on. After the initial confusion from jumping around died down I still didn't enjoy the crazy back and forth. I would be intrigued by one character's story and then be thrown into another without much transition. Making the book feel too choppy.

Although the memories were absolutely an integral part of the story, each character's personal trials giving insight into their actions that day; I found that in some places the memories were hard to distinguish from the present day.

Now, despite my dislike for the execution of the book I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The mere possibility of children being harmed hits a soft spot with many people. Having a child may make the blow hit harder, but children are innocent bystanders in almost every situation and should never have to witness this level of evil.

Watching these five characters fight with their regrets while still fighting to protect the children was inspirational.

Overall I would say three and a half stars, but I'll round up because of the beautiful placement of the title in the story.

“We're always one breath away from something, living or dying, sometimes it just can't be helped.”
― Heather Gudenkauf,One Breath Away
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 8, 2015
Heather Gudenkauf's, One Breath Away is a character-driven novel full of suspense, but to me there seemed to be something missing. The entire time I was reading, I couldn't help thinking, been there, done that - like I'd read a similar storyline before. Also, the short choppy chapters and some of the back-story took away from the urgency of what was going on at the school. And, when the who and why was all revealed, I just wasn't sold. Having said all that, I did enjoy the characters. P.J. and Augie were strong characters who - in my opinion - carried the story.

Did I like this book? Yes and no. Would I read it again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to my book buddies? Yes.

Though I didn't care for the book, I can see why others might enjoy it. It is a good suspense novel. Having said that, because of the subject matter, it might be an emotional read for some.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 28, 2013
"One Breath Away" is a captivating novel! The very beginning hooks the reader in with an insider's account on a gunman in the school, and the story begins to unfold until the intruder's identity is revealed at the end. Gudenkauf drops hints along the way to keep readers guessing who he is, and I was able to correctly predict his identity early on.

Although no author surpasses Jodi Picoult's expertise, I would recommend this to Picoult fans. The story is told in short fragments from five viewpoints, describing the situation from various perspectives.

The plot was not as eventful as I was expecting in the middle, but the author still included enough suspense to make this a page-turner.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 12, 2013
This book was the 3rd of that author I have read - it was good but I found it lingered on - not like the 2 other one - a bit dissapointed
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 2, 2014
So far I have read 3 of her books and loved every one Great Writer!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Need customer service? Click here