Book Review: Iowa State alumna released debut novel


The Breathless Cover


“The Breathless” is a young adult gothic-thriller novel from Iowa State alumna Tara Goedjen and is sure to capture you’re attention.

Goedjen’s debut novel follows Cage Shaw, Mae and Grady Cole through a journey of dark secrets, twisted family trees and magic. Set mostly around the Cole’s manor, Blue Gate, “The Breathless” gives off a gothic, eerie, magical vibe that will make you continue to flip the pages deep into the night.

The jumping back-and-forth between the three lead characters could be seen as hard to follow, but is very well written and adds to the overall feeling and thrill of the book. I personally loved getting to read from three completely different perspectives and adding that bit of history into the novel via Grady Cole was one of my favorite aspects.

Mae’s older sister Roxanne “Ro” Cole’s body was mysteriously found on the beach by their property a year earlier, leaving the Cole family in shambles. How could witty, full-of-life Ro be dead?

And the only person who knows what might have happened to Ro is her then-boyfriend Cage who hasn’t been seen since the night it all happened, making him a clear suspect in the Cole’s and townspeople’s minds. 

Until Cage suddenly turns up at the front door of Blue Gate, exactly one year after Ro was found dead.

“The Breathless” isn’t like any other mystery/thriller I’ve read, and that’s because the storyline takes the most unusual twists. What’s better than a book that leaves you surprised and even shocked in a way? Nothing. It was very refreshing reading a book that, piece-by-piece, you put together, and then at the very end the puzzle was completed and everything made sense.

As well as having a suspenseful plotline, the story moved at just the right pace. Not going too fast to leave you in the dark or moving to slow so that you’d lose interest, “The Breathless” followed a steady pace, with action-packed scenes at just the right moments.

Follow Mae, Cage and Grady into a world full of magic, history and dark secrets that you are sure not to forget anytime soon.