Even though I’m not a target reader for the YA thriller genre, I couldn’t put Last Girl Breathing down.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Have You Ever Read a YA Thriller?
When I requested a copy of Court Steven’s new release, Last Girl Breathing, I had no idea it fell into the YA Thriller category. It simply looked like a great book filled with suspense and intrigue. I love books in the suspense and thriller categories (armchair adrenalin rushes), but I didn’t realize authors had started writing for the clean YA thriller market.
Authors like Jaime Jo Wright and Colleen Coble write excellent, clean thrillers for adults (PG for sex and language). I get tired of tripping over foul language in many contemporary (ok, almost all of the ones I’ve read in the past years) YA books. So, finding a YA thriller I can share with my students with impunity feels like discovering the mother lode.
By Court Stevens, Thomas Nelson, November 2023, 400 pages, 13+.
Seventeen-year-old Lucy Michaels wants to live without the drama of the past inserting itself at every turn. But she can’t forget how her younger brother died in a flood when the dam in their small town broke. Nor can she forgive herself for her part in the tragedy.
Now, her slightly neurotic mom won’t stop texting Lucy about her stepbrother, Martin, who hasn’t shown up for the regional football championship game. Lucy must quiet her mind to practice sharpshooting to make the Olympic team. She doesn’t have time to worry about her mother, stepbrother, or ex-boyfriend, Neil.
But when someone discovers blood on and around Martin’s Hummer, the town turns out to search for him. Lucy worries Martin’s disappearance has something to do with the dam break that killed her brother. Will Martin’s last words to Lucy put a target on her back?
When Deuce goes missing, too, Lucy feels the walls of a conspiracy closing around her. Everyone she’s ever trusted seems like a suspect. If anyone knew what she knew, she might end up the next victim. Can she trust anyone?
What I Loved About This Book
Stevens’ tense tale will keep readers hooked from the first page. Readers will relate to Lucy’s need to provide strength for those she loves—even at great personal cost. The author highlights the conundrum of children acting as parents and the generational distrust between parents and their adolescent offspring. Parents don’t share the whole truth to shelter their children. Teens don’t share the whole truth to shelter their parents.
Above all, Stevens helps readers understand the need to question and investigate everything. Taking things at face value could be a deadly mistake in a sinful world.