Last Girl Breathing

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Pub Date 07 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 07 Dec 2023

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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.

  • A stand-alone young adult thriller
  • Perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
  • Book length: 76,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions

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...

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ISBN 9780840707109
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 159 members

Featured Reviews

Court Stevens is great at writing YA mystery books. This one doesn't disappoint. We follow the main character as she is haunted by the past and trying to figure out what really happened, and who caused it. I felt this book was well written and really came full circle.

Thank you netgalley for an arc of Last Girl Breathing by Court Stevens

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A great mistery with a chilling plot and a magistral conclusion ! Last girl breathing was a book than I expect a lot from,and I'm glad to say I'm not disappointed ! It quickly got me speeding trough the pages causa I was SO anxious to know whodunit and the reasons ! Would totally recommend this one,thank you net galley for providing me this ARC !

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So many twists and turns and shocking moments and whirlwind revelations that it’s an amazing read. Just about the time you think you have it figured out.. think again! If you want to read a book that keeps you guessing this is definitely for you! I throughly enjoyed the ride this took me on! Thank you!!!

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Heart pounding thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Definitely one of the best books this year.

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My heart broke repeatedly for Lucy, but by the last page, my heart was so happy of her.

The story spans nearly a decade, beginning with the death of Lucy's younger brother during an environmental disaster and the tragic events of the "present."

Having grown up in a small town, I was taken back to the small sense of community while also turning a blind eye to important topics and concerns. It's this culture that adds twists and turns to Lucy's story.

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I have been following Courtney/Court Stevens since her debut novel, Faking Normal. I said it then and I'll say it now... Court Stevens' novels do not get the attention they deserve from the young adult community. As a reader, it has been amazing to witness this author really come into her own and find her niche in the young adult suspense genre.
I enjoyed We Were Kings but Last Girl Breathing absolutely blew me away! Last Girl Breathing sucks readers right into Lucy Micheals's world on page one and does loosen its grip until the final page. As a reader, I was not only consumed by the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lucy's friends but the way the setting of Grand Junction, KY was brought to life, the characters who lived in this world, and the grief that lingers in this town after a tragic dam break. The various ways people experience grief is beautifully woven into this small town mystery. I have NEVER annotated so many passages in a suspense/thriller novel in my life.
Last Girl Breathing will repeatedly break your heart and keep you guessing until you question your own sanity. Do yourself a favor, go ahead and preorder this book, and clear your schedule for November 7th, 2023.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. (:

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Last Girl Breathing by Court Stevens is a heartbreaking yet suspenseful YA novel.

This book was a trip it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire read I never knew what was going to happen next which kept the story interesting and entertaining.
I was sucked into the craziness that continued to transpire page after page.
The characters are so real I could picture them inside of my mind as I read and the scenery.
This book is full of twists and unexpected moments right from the beginning.
Stevens did an excellent job with the plot and character development which had me totally invested in what I was reading as the suspense and tension developed.
It was an intense, quick and fast-paced mystery with a very satisfying ending. Would recommend!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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This is one of my favourite reads of the year! A YA thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

From the very beginning I was hooked. You have fantastically fleshed out characters who just step out from the pages. And no-one is safe - absolutely no-one! From the very beginning it’s clear that everyone is at risk and everyone is a suspect. The brilliance of this book is how much you come to like each and every character, which makes the continuous twists and turns even more brilliant.

I sometimes find that YA crime thrillers are a little more simplistic and shy away from being ‘too real’. ‘Last Girl Breathing’ does not have that problem. You’ll fall down the rabbit hole of trying to piece this crime together and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be nowhere near the truth by the end.

This one is dark, it’s real, it’s nail-bitingly good. Reading this book was a pleasure and I’ll certainly be reading more of Court Stevens work.

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Another heart-pounding thrilling story from Court Steven! I was on the edge of my seat reading it and couldn't put it down. An unpredictable twist at the end, and an exploration of grief endured by a teenager and how it follows her into her adult life and adult choices. I really liked the unique setting and characters.

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I really enjoyed this book it was full of twists that I didn’t see coming and I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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First of all, thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book. I LOVED it. Honestly, I don't know why people sleep on Court Stevens as a top author of suspense and mystery in the YA world. The twists and turns of Last Girl Breathing kept me wanting to read, to the point that I was frustrated when I had to stop to take care of immediate responsibilities. I can't wait to share this with students and put it down as a future battle of the books contender.

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A devastating flood and subsequent dam collapse rocked Lucy’s small town eight years ago. After losing her brother to the waters, she’s thrown herself into her family, relationships, and her dream of representing her country for air rifle at the Olympics. And all seems well, until tragedy strikes her family again, in the same place, next to the same dam. But as Lucy digs deeper, she realises that the danger is far from over, and the flood that killed her brother may not entirely have been an accident… and the killer could be anyone she loves, just waiting to strike.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

This was SUCH a beautifully written murder mystery, complex and hard-hitting - while at the same time imbued with a gritty sort of hopefulness.

The author’s writing style isn’t for everyone - for example, one of my favourite quotes was ‘You're young; you're formative; you're lateral. In the strangest innate way, you carry a secret that neither of you can understand or voice; a guttural knowledge that you will outlive your parents and the resulting bond between the two of you is different from the bond between them and you.’ …it resonated with me and reminded me of my bonds with my own siblings, but I can see how bits like this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But it worked for me, and I’d say it did a great job for this novel as a whole - Lucy was a lovely main character, with such a distinct voice. You can’t help but want to root for her even if you don’t entirely understand or relate to her, which is not an easy feat for an author to undertake - to make their main character come alive in a way that shows all their flaws and dreams and hopes in one book, and do it so well that we root for her against all odds.

Grief is a central part of this book - how it drives people apart, how it brings them together, how it impacts lives and relationships. It was written in a way that resonates and shows the complexities of grief, and how its impact varies per person. The author never shied away from emotions or hard truths, while at the same time extending a measure of compassion but not excuse to all their characters.

The setting was also really well-developed, I felt like a citizen of Grand Junction after a while. It was homey when it needed to be homey, alien when it needed to be alien, and always immersed me in the story and added to the plot/character development. I really loved all that.

And best for last - the thriller, murder mystery aspect of this. Y’all. I have read many, many murder mysteries, many of them popular, many of them not. This is hands down one of the best I have seen. It makes sense, is realistic, is not confusing, and COMPLETELY hooks you. I read this book in one bated-breath sitting, and while in other novels I usually have some idea of the culprit, I only had a vague guess of who they might be mere pages before they were revealed. And what a reveal! The foreshadowing was all there and it was great, but enough to give away the twist before it needed to be given away.

This book also… it just made me feel so many emotions. The epilogue and time skip near the end made me almost cry. I really felt for Lucy, for everyone in Grand Junction, even for the murderer (while not excusing their actions, of course, the author does this very well - showing how people can be awful and also hurting), and this book appealed to universal truths and struggles and emotions. It made me think deeply about my own life and goals in a way that most books don’t. Pick this one up, folks. It lingers far beyond its last page - and it‘s so worth it.

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Court Stevens did it again! I really enjoyed this one. Sadie was one of my favorites of 2020 and I was blessed to get an e-arc of this! A new favorite!

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Wow! If you love suspense books, Court Stevens is a queen of suspense. This book keeps you guessing until the end! Definitely worth reading, even through the sadness and tragedy.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance ecopy of this book!! All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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Much like Court Stevens other books, this was an excellent young adult thriller, suspenseful every step of the way. The main character, Lucy Michaels, is appealing as the protagonist. She is unflinchingly persistent in her quest to arrive at the truth of more than one mystery. As she tries to find the answers to what happened when her young brother died from their local dam breaking and washing him away as well as life as she knew it, the bodies pile up and the mysteries keep coming.
The book has a great pace and good characters that you will love and hate, including Lucy's mother for her weakness following the tragedy and her reliance on Lucy to be the strong one. This is definitely a page turner, one that I will highly recommend.

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This book grabbed me from the very first page. As I read on, the author kept me wanting more of the why’s and how’s of the story. It is the kind of book you can finish in one sitting, and want to.

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I couldn't put this book down. Seriously, I had to sneakily read it during work because I was so invested. Great characters, great plot, great ending.

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Wow!! This is an amazing story that pulled me in from the first page. I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to keep reading so that I could figure out who was behind the murders and put all the pieces of the puzzle that the author created together. My only complaint is that the switching back and forth between the present and past was a little confusing. As the Court Stevens laid out the events it eventually came together and told the story, but it was a little confusing at first. The Stevens did a great job of developing the characters and as a reader you feel that you are a part of the community. I highly recommend this book. I have students coming into the library looking for mysteries and adventure stories and I will be sure and recommend this book to them in the future.

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an advance copy so that I could leave a review!!

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An adrenaline-pumping thriller that had me gripped, teetering on the edge of my seat throughout. I found immense satisfaction in reading this one; undoubtedly, it ranks among the finest books I've encountered this year.

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I had trouble in the beginning with this book. There are lots of people in this story and it took a while to remember how the relationships worked. In addition the narration is almost chain of conscious. I persisted, and by the time I had figured everything out I became obsessed with finding out who was responsible for the deaths and I was on Lucy's side as she was determined to find answers about the collapse of a dam, and the deaths of her childhood friends. It was a well done mystery and I was only one step ahead of Lucy at the end. The end is more nearly about real life because Lucy's future life is not tied up in a neat bow. This is a worth reading book. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc and for not pressuring for a good review.

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This is my first book by this author and it will certainly not be my last! It was such a page-turner.

I found the main character, Lucy, to be very likable and I felt so much empathy for everything she'd been through! Life really threw a lot at her and she continued to be strong and fight through all the hard stuff. Even with all the death and tragedy, I still would hand this to anyone who is a teen or older. I think it's a good representation of loving people through pain and mistakes told from the perspective of a young adult.

My favorite part of this story was the mystery element. I thought the author did an excellent job of arranging the clues in such a way that I truly didn't see the end coming. Five stars from me!

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The Last Girl Breathing is now my favorite Court Stevens book! This is a thriller that you won’t want to put down. As with any Court Stevens book, the backdrop is in a rural community and this community is grieving the loss of 2 teens suspiciously in the same area where a dam broke years before, killing several. We follow the perspective of Lucy as she’s searching for answers. Adults will enjoy this one as much as teens. It’s nice to have a thriller where I didn’t have to worry about the dog! I did get a little lost with so many characters, but that is the natural of a story set in a small town. The community plays a large part of the story.

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I would have read this book in one sitting if time would have allowed. This is a fast-paced, young adult thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is the second Court Stevens book I've read. I read "We Were Kings" and love it almost as much as I love this one.
One of the great things I loved about this book is that there is not a lot of bad language. Too many YA books today are peppered with cursing and swearing that are completely unnecessary.
This is definitely a great book for all ages.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this E-arc for my honest review.
Excellent thriller that grabs you from the first chapter. I guessed the “bad guy” relatively quickly but was shocked at the ending!! Very good, fast paced read and highly recommend.

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Another beautiful book from Court Stevens. I will always love the pictures she paints (whether as Court Stevens, Courtney Stevens, etc :)) Court is quickly becoming one of my favorite, auto-buy authors!

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Stevens' knack for writing mystery & suspense is ever-growing. On the heels of "We Were Kings" comes "Last Girl Breathing", a striking continuation down the road of suspicion and murder in Stevens' list of titles.

Lucy Michaels has big dreams of achieving olympic success on the U.S. air rifle team. But she is also haunted by the tragic loss of her younger brother Clay in a town tragedy that occurred years before. Many lives were lost when that dam broke. And now another tragedy is striking her home town and Lucy feels a personal responsibility to solve the case before more people she loves are lost in the crossfire.

I received a copy of the novel-in-progress from Court Stevens in January 2023 and a NetGalley arc a handful of months later. I have become an avid fan of Court's work. I count her as a friend, but I also admire her as an artist. This review is given with an eye towards the quality of the work and with gratefulness for the ability to access stories before they are out there in the wider world. Thank you to NetGalley and to Court for the arc.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for this book.

I put off reading this book because of the high emotional reviews, but I wish I had read it earlier. Yes, it is full of emotional scenes, but I really, really loved this book.

It is a great mystery story with many twists and turns. The author has great characters, settings, and plot. I love the suspense, mystery, and the past and present collision.

Highly recommend. Thank you Entangled for another great mystery thriller!

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This was such a good book! It had me from page one! I read it in one day and couldn’t put it down! I would definitely recommend this book!

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First of all, I really love this cover. The font and spooky yellow letters are often used, so that didn't blow me away, but for some reason the art style of the submerged trees really itches my brain. The story was just as good. I was super engaged through the whole thing. I read it in one day because I didn't put it down. I guess I shouldn't recommend it to you if you have a to-do list today, because you won't get anything done besides devouring this book.

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Last Girl Breathing by Court Stevens is one of those books that make you rush through chores so you can be free to read the next chapters and find out what will happen next. I really enjoyed way the story moved along. Many of the characters seemed to be capable of being the guilty party in the story, and I singled out several before settling on the one I thought most guilty. Some of the characters introduced part way through the book turned out to be main characters of the entire story. There was a little too much loss in the book to come away with a satisfied feeling for the story, but all in all I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to students for sure.

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Wow, I was not ready for that, but I am so glad that I experienced it. This author has to be on your TBR when you are in the market to read a YA thriller. Characters that jump off the page and captivate your mind and heart. The storyline was smooth and had you pacing the floors, wishing you could read faster. I couldn't put it down until the last page turned and then I wanted to read it slower so it could last. Bravo, bravo.

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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.

Fans of Jaime Jo Wright and Yamile Saied Méndez will enjoy this book.

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#FirstLine ~ The bulk of Mom’s messages come through in a span of thirty-eight minutes.

What makes Last Girl Breathing truly captivating is its compelling characters and their emotional depth. Lucy's journey, filled with guilt and determination, is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. The novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats as it unravels the truth, revealing the intricate web of lies and deceit in the town.

Court Stevens delivers nonstop suspense, creating a story that keeps you guessing until the very end. Last Girl Breathing is a riveting exploration of the human spirit, the power of redemption, and the resilience of the last girl standing. With its well-crafted characters and suspenseful plot, this novel is a must-read for those who enjoy thrilling mysteries and stories that tug at the heartstrings.

I was able to read and listen to this book via @netgalley eARC and audiobook!!! Thanks so much!!

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This book took me on a completely unexpected ride. Full of twists and turns, suspense and emotional moments I never had clue about what was going to happen next, Last Girl Breathing sucked me in from the first page until the last and I will definitely be checking out this authors other work.

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Looooooooved this!!! Fast paced, kept me guessing. A typical whodunnit but with some interesting twists and no loose ends. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Stevens last novel, We Were Kings, held me spellbound, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of her newest YA mystery.

Tragedy struck the small Kentucky town of Grand Junction several years ago when the dam broke after excessive rain, and lives were lost. Among the victims was Lucy’s little brother, Clay. Eight years later, Lucy is focused on making the US Olympic air rifle team and taking care of her mother, who is still very fragile after Clay’s death. Tragedy strikes again when two of Lucy’s closest friends are found murdered in the same vicinity where her brother died.

Small towns seem to hold the biggest secrets, usually deeply buried, and Grand Junction is no different. Some characters have held them close for decades. The author created realistic and flawed characters, making it easy for readers to empathize with them. A wide net of suspicion is cast over the town, and there’s no shortage of red herrings to throw readers off the trail. I never got to a point where I felt as if I knew without a doubt who was behind the murders, and I love it when that happens. When all was said and done, it’s nothing I could have predicted.

The story moves seamlessly as chapters alternate from present day to the past, the weekend Clay died, and my heart went out to Lucy after the gut-wrenching nightmare she lived through. With Grand Junction being such a tightly knit community, the whole town grieved when the dam burst, and wounds are still fresh eight years later.

Passages of this story will break your heart, and the gripping mystery will keep you guessing until the end. I listened to the audiobook, and narrator McKenzie Fetters does a fantastic job. If you’re a fan of small town mysteries with realistically drawn characters, you can’t go wrong with Last Girl Breathing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I haven’t the slightest idea what I expected when picking up a copy of Last Girl Breathing by Court Stevens. However, I wasn’t anticipating Stevens’ writing style, and that alone was a refreshing change— or can I even call raw, gritty, and in-your-face refreshing? She excelled at writing voice (I have probably mentioned this twice while reviewing for Netgalley) and got into Lucy’s shoes. In this whodunnit, all the “good guys” are such amazing family friends, and you can feel their connection and bond, but unfortunately for Lucy, one of them is also secretly the most horrible being ever.
Secondary characters who I would love to see more from Dana and her dog. She and her companion became a pillar for Lucy to lean on. I’ll toss in Neil…. and a “but” where he is concerned, for obvious reasons. So this is where I say this story is excellent for those who love twists, turns, and being blindsided because to share anything more would spoil the fun.

Thank you to the author, Net Galley, and publisher for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Court Stevens for Last Girl Breathing coming out November 7, 2023. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I’ve read another book by this author and I really loved it. So I was excited to check this one out. I thought this book was really well written. I loved the small town feel of it and the characters. I thought the mystery was really interesting. There was enough mystery to keep me on the edge of my seat. I thought Lucy was a really strong character. It would’ve been nice to get a little background on her stepbrother Martin and a little more about their relationship before everything happened. There was a lot about her brother Clay, but sometimes it didn’t feel like I knew much about Martin and his motives. But overall, I loved this book and it felt very familiar and cozy. There was definitely a lot of trauma, but I loved how the characters responded in different ways.

I would recommend recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA Murder mysteries!

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Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a YA thriller like never before, I've never read a YA thriller as good and chilling as this. I finished reading it and I was wrecked, I wished all those deaths hadn't happened, I almost cried. The victims were so young and so brave that their loss broke my heart.
Our FMC, Lucy Micheals, was a girl with a lot of trauma in the beginning of the book and more to come by. She was so strong, and she held it in. I liked that she had help investigating from an expert in the field, unlike most YA thrillers where the amateur solves the crime. I'm happy that she found people to let loose with. I did not like her mom, though. I also liked the rest of the characters(except the perp), they were so amazing, and they were there for each other. I loved the small town of Cleary County
The book started with Lucy's stepbrother investigating the LA Rue Dam break, and it went on gradually from there. I never thought this book would be as deep as this. I don't want to say much because I might spoil the book, but it's a thriller worth reading. But, be wary, it's very, very strong
Finally, the author was amazing. The writing, the storyline, was topnotch, I'd definitely read another of her book. Yeah, she's that good! You should definitely read this

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Lucy is a high schooler who has suffered so much tragedy. She lost her brother Clay in a flood and now her step-brother is missing. Did he stumble onto something worth killing over, and is she in danger now? As more information comes to light, Lucy doesn’t know who of her most trusted friends and family she can trust.

I really enjoyed this book! I got pretty invested in it at the very beginning and read it in a day! This is a great read if you love a good mystery with unexpected twists set in a small town where everyone knows each other.

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Ugh this book was just so ughhhhhh. Like in the best possible way. I have the biggest book hangover now. I don’t even know how to write a good enough review for this one. I suspected everyone throughout the whole book. Well except the dog.

One thing made me laugh and it’s a just me thing. I’ve had my name misspelled a lot but Joanny is a new one even for me. I wouldn’t have even assumed it was Joni if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook in tandem with reading the book.

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Last Girl Breathing is such a harrowing gut punch, but with some truly lovely moments scattered throughout. I adore Court Steven's books, and this one is no exception. It is, however, pretty dark, so do go in prepared. I could not find any official content warnings, but there is murder, and death of a child, so it does deal with some heavy topics. Lucy's story is sad from the first page, knowing she lost her beloved younger brother. And it only gets more harrowing from there, when her loved ones start to go missing, or worse, end up dead.

The author does an amazing job at allowing the readers to truly feel Lucy's emotions throughout the story. Add to it, everyone in the town seems both too kind to be the killer, but also just a bit suspicious enough to plausibly be the baddie. You don't want to think that any of these people Lucy loves could be capable of murder, but you also can't be sure. So much like real life experiences, really- you think you know people, and they cannot be capable of horrific things, but then they often are. Anyway, obviously someone is responsible for what is happening here- the victims did not hurt themselves, that much is clear.

This story is told over many years and many heartbreaks, and I loved that it seemed so realistic. There is nothing neat and tidy about this, and the author made some very daring, but very realistic choices. While my emotions didn't always love them, my head knew that they were right narratively. While the book itself is definitely darker in style, there is absolutely some heartwarming hopefulness to be found.

Bottom Line: Another stunning and heartwrenching novel from Court Stevens, complete with relatable characters and just enough glimmers of hope.

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Court Stevens creates a thriller with twists and turns, and, though I figured out who the killer was, gets the reader invested in finishing the story.
Eight years ago, Lucy lost her little brother in a flood after the local damn broke. Lucy carries guilt for not being able to save him. She throws herself into the Olympic air rifle competition. She has a purpose; she has a plan. But then go awry when her stepbrother (whose father put in the fancy new damn) goes missing in the same area the flood happened. Everyone in the area has secrets but whose secrets lead to murder? Lucy begins to worry she may not be able to keep herself alive.

Before even the book's halfway mark, I had already deduced who the killer would be. But Stevens creates an intricate mystery, and I couldn’t figure out all the parts. One is why the killer would commit these crimes. They aren’t who most likely suspect. There are other facets to the story and wanting to know how they all tied together kept me reading. I was anxious to find out how the final showdown would go.
The characters Steven creates are multifaceted. Each character has drives that are very personal making their missteps and morally grey lives saddening. You feel a variety of emotions towards each character. I liked that lack of flat stereotypes. I truly cared about these people and wanted them to be safe.

I really enjoyed Last Girl Breathing and plan on hitting Stevens’ back catalog.

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This is my first novel by Court Stevens and I enjoyed it immensely. With amso many novels in the thriller genre it is difficult to rise above the others, but this story delivered. I especially enjoyed how the author dealt out little tidbits at a time about the back story. This isn’t for the faint of heart though as there is trauma throughout in many forms. A really solid story that I completely enjoyed reading. Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with an ARC.

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I love this one. This author is really good at writing a mystery.
This is dark, however. The relationship between the siblings (step) is odd but it makes sense in the context of the book.
I really felt for our protagonist and I loved unraveling the mystery with her.

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"If you intend to arm a bomb, you don't do it where you sleep" (location 1275). While this book is listed as a young adult thriller, I think anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller would like it. It didn't feel like a young adult novel to me even though several of the main characters were late teens, early twenties. It was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tragedy struck years ago when a dam broke. Now Lucy's brother is convinced it wasn't an accident. When tragedy strikes again, it's hard not to start connecting the dots. Lucy is an interesting character. She is trying to make the Olympic air rifle team. She wants justice for the victims of the tragedy yet she can't bear to be in the place where they all lived. She struggles with the past and has a hard time embracing the future with so much baggage clinging to her.

There is a lot of mystery that needs to be unraveled. There are big twists and turns in the case. Not all is as it seems. It was exciting and hard to put down. I'd highly recommend it.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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This book hooks you on the first page and doesn't let go. It's full of twists and turns and will keep you guessing until the end. Loved it and highly recommend it.
I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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From the first sentence to last you’re propelled forward at breakneck speed. Full of complex characters, this mystery is labeled as YA but I feel it’s easily adult fiction and I’m buying it for our adult collection. It’s a heartbreaking story that is a well written mystery. I’m going to become a fan of this author.

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She just wants to forget the past and pursue her dream of being an Olympic air-rifle shooter, but her past refuses to be ignored. It starts with her stepbrother going missing and turning up dead—along with one of Lucy’s childhood friends. She shouldn’t dig, but Lucy has information that could lead to an arrest. The only question is, will she share what she knows if it means implicating someone close to her as the killer?

🫧This was a really intriguing small town mystery. I was immediately hooked into Martin’s disappearance and felt like I was right alongside Lucy as she went further down the rabbit hole that connects Martin with the town’s dark past, and the suspicious death of Lucy’s younger brother. As suspenseful as this was, it was just as heartbreaking. Lots of messy dark drama that I really enjoyed.

Other things I loved were how dynamic the plot was, how Stevens kept me guessing, and the bit of bloody retribution at the end. The plot was super twisty with multiple layers to it, and Lucy was a great MC to lead us along. All the stars and high recommendation from me!

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