Book Reviews

Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel // Book Review


The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the streets of Chicago by a mob of crazed teens that leaves death in its wake. It’s been two years since the last attack, but Lia Finch has found clues that reveal the Swarm is ready to claim a new victim. Winner of the 2020 ILA Award for Best YA Fiction.

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 that has plagued Chicago since 2011, 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.



Trigger Warning: ableist use of S word appears four times in this book

I liked the concept of this but not the execution. I felt that instead of going out and finding the answers she was looking for, Lia was largely guided to them, or let her friends do the work for her. I couldn’t even work out why she was friends with Adam and Katie, and Katie especially literally faded into the background.

I didn’t feel the story delivered a satisfying conclusion, and I think I was hoping for a bigger reveal than we got, which really we didn’t get a big reveal at all. I wanted Lia to actually meet and connect with more members of the Swarm too, because she just took Ryan’s word without question that they weren’t as bad as they seemed.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments!

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