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Nineteen-year-old Kat Jones has been a competitive runner since she was a young girl, but after her mother’s death, the path her life was supposed to take begins to crumble around her — until one day, she finds herself on the run in a literal sense, this time in a race for her very life.

Kat’s journey takes her to the Pacific Northwest town of Lithia, the place of her last good memories, of the days when her mother was still alive. But soon after her arrival, strange things begin to happen in Lithia — and when one of her new friends disappears under mysterious circumstances, Kat begins to realize that Lithia’s inhabitants are not all of this world. Worst of all, she is falling in love with one of these otherworldly locals, and the friend who hopes to save her has secrets of his own.

As Kat tries to rebuild her life, she is also training for a race that will turn out to be her biggest challenge yet, as she must outrun not only the demons of her past but the demons of the here and now, who threaten her very existence and that of the entire town.

At once a paranormal love story and an environmental allegory, Out of Breath offers an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.

BOOKLIST REVIEW (January 2012):

“Combining mystery, romance, vampires, and strong vegan and environmental messages, [Out of Breath] will have readers of light paranormal novels running to the next book in Richmond’s trilogy.” “

KIRKUS REVIEWS (October 2011):

Set in Lithia, a southern Oregon theater town (Ashland, thinly disguised), this series opener blends genre tradition with West Coast environmentalism.

Yes, it’s another paranormal romance—a human/vampire love triangle in a small town where not all the people are people—with a heroine who, though feistier than most, belongs to the Bella sisterhood. And yet—well-worn plot notwithstanding—the result feels fresh and original. Kat, homeless and on the run (from what, readers learn later), returns to Lithia, where her mother died years earlier, and is offered a job and housing by friendly locals. Running is Kat’s passion and coping mechanism; soon she’s running with her landlady, Stacey. Also taking an interest in Kat are Roman, the handsome actor playing Hamlet (a role that suits him), and attractive Alex, who works at the food co-op and, like Kat, is devoutly vegan. All is not well in Lithia, where runners occasionally turn up dead. When it’s Stacey, Kat feels responsible; they’d been separated on a run together.

Ringing changes on readers’ expectations, the pseudonymous author delivers plot twists with minimalist (for the genre) panache, producing a green parable infused with a rich sense of place: an organically grown confection. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

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