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Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
The #1 New York Times Bestseller! The #1 Young Adult Debut of 2016 A Buzzfeed Best YA of 2016 "..simultaneously heart pounding and heart wrenching." — Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DUMPLIN' Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun. 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium...
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. I hope no one who does survive a school shooting reads this, because all of the characters here are the same hero in different bodies and with different storylines.
Allow me to explain: all of these characters act like superheroes. That is, when those that are not in the room where the shootings are taking place immediately go into action in trying to do whatever they can to get everyone help. They do not think about the danger their family members are in (because both of these people do have family members trapped in the building) despite it being the first thing I think everyone would've thought about, especially when everyone in the school are supposed to be there. This action-hero behavior lasts until the very end of the book, where a character is acting super confident and bold even with a gun to his head, which MAKES NO SENSE.
There's also, of course, the use of rape almost as some sort of plot twist, but almost even worse, because it's used as further justification that the school shooter here is evil, and otherwise is not explained and had little to no purpose other than to generally confuse the reader because we have no idea of his motivations (especially when he seemed to hate this character and showed little to no signs of attraction).
There's also a physically disabled child who is only in the book to die. Nothing more, nothing less. He is genuinely just there so that you can cry over this character that is just there for tokenism/shock value/emotional manipulation.
For a book that has been praised for its diversity and representation, the diversity an rep are both pretty shit.