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...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780840707109
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 71 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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