Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel

Chicago is not a city estranged from violence. The Swarm has plagued tourist and residents alike for years. Hundreds of teens swarm their victim and brutally beat them to death. However, its been two years since the last attack. Two years since Lia’s dad was murdered, but she knows the Swarm isn’t dead. Determined to bring her dad’s killer to justice, Lia investigates her own leads.

This book packs its punches and wow, this was quite the ride. I wasn’t expecting this book to be so dark for YA. But there are several heart wrenching scenes within these pages. Lia Finch, our MC, struggles with asthma and PTSD. Her grief for her dad is palpable and constantly attempts to suck her into fake realities. I’ve really come to love unreliable narrators and Lia’s voice worked for me. I always felt on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next Swarm attack and when they’d come I was certain they’d only be a figment of Lia’s imagination.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this. While Lia is certainly going after a needle in a haystack, she makes allies that eventually give her the tools and direction she needed to find her answers. The ending delivered quite the shock as well, which I am still processing.

Gabriel has crafted a marvelous debut and seeing it set in my home city of Chicago gave it an extra nostalgia push for me.

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