Every Stolen Breath
Lia is the only one still pursuing her father’s killers, two years after attorney Steven Finch’s murder by the Swarm. Devastated and desperate for answers, Lia will do anything to uncover the reasons behind his death and to stop someone else from being struck down. But due to debilitating asthma and PTSD that leaves her with a tenuous hold on reality, Lia is the last person to mount a crusade on her own.
After a close encounter with the Swarm puts Lia on their radar, she teams up with a teen hacker, a reporter, and a mysterious stranger who knows firsthand how the mob works. Together, they work to uncover the master puppeteer behind the group. Though if Lia and her network don’t stop the person pulling the strings—and fast—Lia may end up the next target.
Inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence struck Chicago in2011, Every Stolen Breath by debut author Kimberly Gabriel is a fast-paced and immersive thriller that shows just how hard one girl will fight back, knowing any breath might be her last.
EVERY STOLEN BREATH is an engrossing read that follows Lia as she attempts to uncover her father's killers. Every so often, Chicago is hit by the Swarm, a large group of teenagers who attack a person, seemingly at random, by surrounding and beating them to death. As it is such a large group, there is not much that can be done to stop them, and witnesses are few and sometimes killed. The attacks seemed random until Lia's father was the victim two years ago. Her father was investigating the Swarm and was about to convict someone he thought was behind it.
After her father's death, no one has been able to make the connections and piece together who is really behind the Swarm. Lia is obsessed with figuring it out- despite her asthma and PTSD. However, her determination has led her to where she thinks she may know where the next attack will be. She has contacted the police, but what they really need is evidence, and Lia is determined to get it for them, by recording where she believes will be their next attack.
However, the close encounter only escalates the danger for her- and leaves her without the evidence she needs. Unable to drop her search for justice, the clock is ticking until the Swarm chooses her as its next victim or she exposes whoever is behind it.
What I loved: The plot of this book was really interesting with chasing down clues, and the ways that Lia navigates this world make it really engrossing (big whodunnit mystery, plus the thriller aspects of potential targeting). She is lucky to be aided by others in her journey, and the information about cyber security seemed really well researched. The representation of Lia's PTSD was really strong, and bringing attention to mental illness is helpful- especially here, where Lia's mother is getting her help to treat it.
What left me wanting more: As a minor point, there are some sections of the book that seemed to drag a little (in the middle, when not too much happens), and I would have liked to keep up the fast pacing going throughout. Overall, it kept the thriller/mystery plot line going strong throughout.
I would add warnings for major character death, murder, and assault, as well as a minor warning for a not-completely-wrapped up ending. The big things are taken care of, but I wonder if there might be a sequel in the works...
Final verdict: Original, engrossing, and full of suspense, EVERY STOLEN BREATH is an intense YA thriller/mystery and page-turner. I would highly recommend for people who enjoy procedurals/thrillers and a tenacious heroine.