Publication date: April 7, 2020
Extremely good and emotional book. It was a bit of a tearjerker, but not quite as bad as I expected. It deals with what happens in the aftermath of a school shooting, not so much the shooting itself. It doesn’t go in depth into the why it happened or what the shooter was going through, but focuses on a girl that survived while her twin brother didn’t. Especially concentrating on her PTSD and survival guilt.
The book takes place nearly a year after the shooting occurred and May McGintee is returning to public school after being homeschooled for six months. After the shooting she had returned to school but was eventually kicked out due to the fact that she got in too many fights. Her anger was out of control and it still is growing inside her and she struggles to keep it in.
Only a few days after she was kicked out of school, the school board decided that having the students attend the same school where the shooting occurred was toxic, so they closed it. Now the kids from Carter High School were moved to another school in the valley called Quincy Adams High School. It is overcrowded and the halls are packed solid in between classes. The Carter Kids all hang together and the QA kids hang with their own so the kids are a bit segregated in that way.
May is angry at just about everything, but one thing her anger is really focused on is the lawyer who is defending the shooter. Most of the kids from QA have either ignored or have been outright hostile to Zach Teller since his Mom decided to defend the shooter. Zach is just as mad at his Mom’s decision as everyone else, but that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone besides his best friend Connor who won’t give up on him.
Conner is still popular, he has the kind of personality that everyone is drawn to and he is also in a band that is gaining popularity around town. The band just lost their drummer and is holding tryouts for a new drummer, and Conner forces Zach to come along with him and though Zach usually backs out, Conner won’t let him this time.
May’s best friend Lucy has been a drummer since she was very young and has been in different bands over the years, but is sick of her current band so is planning to go to the tryouts. She bribes May into coming along with with her and that is how May and Zach meet each other. They get along and like each other, though May doesn’t yet know that Zach’s last name is Teller and he is he son of the lawyer she hates so much.
The book is awesome, the world building is spectacular, characters are deep and we see into their minds and their struggles. Both Zack and May are dealing with so much, not only within themselves but within their families. Their friends struggle to help them as well though they also have their own issues, and many other people at the school have issues as well. The author, Liz Lawson, does a terrific job of showing how this incident has affected so many different people.
Though of course May’s story is the most poignant since she not only lost her twin, but was in the band room where the other kids were shot and was the only one to make it out alive. She suffers from recurring nightmares, she is getting strange mail, she feels so much guilt and you just can’t help but put yourself in her shoes when she is missing her brother.
It is hard to believe that the massacre at Columbine High School happened over 20 years ago now and there are still school shootings happening all the time. In a CNN article, by Michelle Lou and Christina Walker, on July 27, 2019, it was reported that so far in 2019 there have been 22 shootings at US schools in which someone was hurt or killed.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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