I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016
Genres: LGBTQ, Thriller, Young Adult
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.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won't open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
Less than one hour to end lives and change them forever. This book was a wild ride and frantically paced from start to finish. From running around the track to running for your life. This is the story of Tyler, Autumn, Claire, Tomas, and Sylv. Except we really only see the story through Autumn, Claire, Tomas, and Sylv’s eyes. Tyler is a mystery, which is what makes this story so crippling and difficult.
Tyler left school a while ago but has returned to school today. And he returns with, well, I don’t want to say a bang, but definitely some impact. After the principal finishes her speech he shows up with a gun in hand and begins firing.
The story is split into four points of view, from the sister, the ex-girlfriend, sister’s girlfriend, and her brother. We learn about how each of them has troubled home lives, between ill family members and alcoholism and abuse. For all that we get glimmers of what has happened before, the main focus is on the 54 minutes when Tyler has a gun and is ruthlessly picking people off in the auditorium.
The thing is that we don’t know why Tyler has done this. There are hints to possible reasoning, but nothing that overtly says “this is why he did it”. There are no aha moments. My stomach was churning throughout this book because I couldn’t understand what drove Tyler to lash out, at least not completely. He didn’t have a pretty home life, but even that doesn’t necessarily cause someone to start shooting. And in the end, that is what makes this book so chilling. We can’t understand why he acts this way because there is never a clear, singular reason someone lashes out in such a way.
This was horrifying and made me choke up a couple of times. It wasn’t plain cut, or easy to read. But in the end, it was a book that made me think.