LAST GIRL BREATHING, by Court Stevens, Thomas Nelson, Nov. 7, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
When a girls’ brother goes missing, it brings up questions from the past in Last Girl Breathing, a YA thriller by Court Stevens.
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 5-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, 17-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. —Synopsis provided by Thomas Nelson
The premise of Last Girl Breathing is good, and — for the most part — the story lives up to it.
The story unfolds from Lucy’s point of view. Lucy is strong protagonist, smart, driven, thinks on her feet. She’s not the damsel-in-distress type, nor does she have to discover her inner strength, which is refreshing.
The setting plays to author Court Stevens’ world-building skills. You are immediately transported to the place Lucy knows so intimately. You feel the rain, smell the damp, hear the ground squelch.
There are a lot of plot twists in Last Girl Breathing. Although there’s one big one that doesn’t come as a surprise, yet it feels satisfying nonetheless.
Last Girl Breathing is a fast-moving standalone novel that should appeal to fans of mysteries/thrillers.
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