“There are no words in that fleeting moment between hope and knowledge. There is no way to express how a heart can burst and break at the same time, how the sun can cut through the darkness but will cast shadows everywhere.”
When I first heard about this book, I was kind of on the fence about it, because school shootings are absolutely horrible and terrifying things (and being a parent, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to read about one), but after seeing so much hype for this book, I decided that I wanted to read it to see why everyone thought it was such a wonderful novel.
Well, for the most part, I can see why everyone thought this book was so good. It was very well written, and over the span of an hour, it depicts what it is like for four high school students during a high school shooting. These four students all have their own lives – girlfriends, siblings, hobbies, and dreams for their future. Unfortunately, on one morning, during a school assembly, things go wrong, and someone holds them inside the auditorium and begins shooting.
The thing about this book is…it’s really graphic. It scared the hell out of me, and while I’m not in school anymore, I have kids (and this type of thing is always a worry for me anyway…and now that fear has been amplified). It’s detailed, and the violence is not subtle…it’s there, and it’s kind of hard to read through at times. School shootings were not that big of a thing when I was in high school (I graduated eight years ago), but for some reason, they are happening at an alarmingly high rate these days. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in high school now, when this kind of thing happens so frequently…but all I can say is the mere thought of it is horrifying. Because it is something that happens so frequently, I’ve noticed that more and more YA novels are popping up with this type of subject matter, but this one is definitive and different because it focuses on the time during the shooting.
I’m not going to give you any spoilers about this book, because making the discoveries about the characters are part of the reading experience. Each chapter has sections that are told in the viewpoint from four students from the school, and each student has their own connections and secrets that will be unveiled as you read the novel.
Let me give you some advice here, though…if you do decide to pick up a copy of this book, you’ll also need a box of tissues. This is a real emotional roller coaster, and even after you’ve finished, it’s almost impossible to get off – the impact of the book will stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it.
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.