A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Last Girl Breathing by Court Stevens: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Eight years ago, tragedy struck. Eight years ago, Lucy Michaels’ life changed forever. But under the surface of her small town lies a secret that could pull her under.

No one expected it to rain that much. But the rain kept coming, the dam broke, and lives were lost. Including five-year-old Clay Michaels, who was swept away in the floodwaters. Clay’s sister, Lucy, has never forgiven herself for her little brother’s death. She was supposed to hold on to him, to keep him from harm during that terrible night. She was supposed to protect him.

Now eight years later, seventeen-year-old Lucy is focused on two things: making the US Olympic air rifle team and protect­ing everyone in her life from any type of trauma. However, with graduation and the Olympics on the horizon, her world is once again shaken when tragedy strikes Grand Junction, and Lucy is right back in the middle of it.

Two of her closest friends have been hunted down in the nature preserve adjoining the town—the same plot of land where her younger brother died—and the fingers of suspicion are pointing everywhere in the community. The prime suspect? Lucy’s ex-boyfriend. The more Lucy uncovers about the secrets of those around her, the more she realizes that she, too, is a target—and that now is the time to face her past if she wants to have a future.

Last Girl Breathing is a page-turning hunt for the truth as Court Stevens once again creates nonstop suspense with characters who will break your heart.

Court Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small-town South. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, and Olympic torchbearer. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the director of Warren County Public Library in Kentucky. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine: The June BoysFaking NormalThe Lies About Truth, the e-novella The Blue-Haired BoyDress Codes for Small Towns, and Four Three Two One. Find Court online at CourtneyCStevens.com; Instagram: @quartland; Facebook: @CourtneyCStevens; Twitter: @quartland.

This is one of those books that after finishing, I still can't quite decide how I feel about it... 

It took a little bit of time for me to get into the story. I think in part, I just couldn't connect with the characters as well and that kept me from engaging with the story right away. About 30% or so in, it picked up for me more. The characters were complex and well-written, though I still found I didn't quite connect as much as I would have liked... perhaps this in part because this is a YA book and I'm obviously not the target age group. (Though in many ways, this really didn't read like a YA book to me.) I'm not sure. The plot was great and kept me wondering what was going to happen next--- it's most certainly a page turner with lots of twists and turns I didn't see coming. I think I've gotten a little too used to reading romances with their guaranteed happy ending, so I will say that the ending disappointed me a bit... but that was definitely a me thing. It was actually very well written, just not how I'd hoped things would go. There were many things I really loved about this book and several lines that really stuck out to me that were really thought provoking... but I just didn't enjoy it quite as much as I wished I would have. That said, if you enjoy YA suspense, this is definitely worth checking out for yourself. 

While this is from a Christian publisher, there was just a handful of minor language used. It does also deal with some heavier topics like abuse, murder and suicide, so may not be ideal for more sensitive readers. 


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