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One Breath Away (2012)

When an armed gunman enters a school, sparking a code-red lockdown, the lives of many are about to change. For Augie and PJ, who are staying with a grandfather they'd never met, because their mother ended up in hospital with severe burns and their grandmother went to help care for her, this was the beginning of yet another nightmare. For Meg, one of the officers as well as one of the parents, the nightmare only grows. For Evelyn, the third-grade teacher who is due to retire soon having dedicated most of her life to her students, this is not how she wants to end her teaching career. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed a Jodi Picoult novel as I can see why the author has been compared to her for the style of her writing. This is a book you really want to read in a single sitting as once you start, it's hard to put down. (LM)

These Things Hidden (2011)

Allison Glenn was the golden girl of her family. In an instant everything changes when as a teenager she is sent to prison for killing her newborn baby. Her parents, unaware that Allison was even pregnant, turn their back on their daughter. Five years later, Allison is released from jail and moves back to her small town to start a new life. She reaches out to her younger sister Brynn, however, Brynn has spent the last five years trying to escape all the secrets and tragedy from that fateful night years ago. Claire Kerby, a bookstore owner, who is unaware of Allison's past, hires her. Claire and her husband struggled for years to have a child and were finally blessed years ago with their adopted son Joshua. Charm Tulia is a young woman from a troubled family who lives with her dying stepfather. This novel is written in the alternating viewpoints of Allison, Brynn, Claire and Charm. The author writes a suspenseful novel that ties all of these women together through a shocking secret. (AO)

The Weight of Silence (2009)

This is not the typical chick lit read. The story is told over a 16-hour period, when two seven-year-old girls, best friends Calli and Petra, go missing on the same night. Calli has selective mutism, which Petra understands and communicates for her. The two girls' families are left to wonder whether their daughters will be found - and unspoken family secrets come to the fore. Each chapter is told by a different narrator. There is a "whodunit" feel to the book. It is quite slow to get into but the short chapters make it a real page-turner. However the reader can be left disappointed at the end as it is all too predictable. (SG)

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