My Rating: ★★★★★
Genre(s): Young Adult; Contemporary
Plot: [From Goodreads] 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity 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 for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
- I love books with more than one point of view
- This book was so emotional
- School shootings are a tough subject, and she nailed it
- Back and forth between the past
- It was so hard to read, but in a real, raw way
- Not everyone survives, and that’s okay
- Diverse characters
- I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this book
- “I didn’t need to die for him to kill me.”
- “Dad always told me there are more stories in the universe than stars in the sky. And in every story, there’s the light of hope. That’s why the seniors sent lanterns up to the sky-to make sure the darkness is never absolute.”
- “We might not be able to beat this together, but we definitely can’t face it alone.”
- “We are more than our mistakes. We are more than what people expect of us.”
- “It’s easier to know who I’m not than to know who I am. When everyone expects me to fail, it’s easier to give up than to try.”
- “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.”
My Thoughts: Where do I start? Where. Do. I. Start. First and foremost, I have to applaud Nijkamp on delivering such a gut-punch for her debut novel. Seriously, I cannot wait to see what else she’s got up her sleeve. This book was hard hitting. It’s hard to capture a school shooting when it’s from just one point of view, so the varying points of view, in and out of the auditorium, really gives a huge picture of what is happening in everyone’s heads and behind the scenes. This book was so emotional and so raw, and it really left me speechless. My anxiety was through the roof, I cried, I felt every single emotion. And all of the amazing quotes. Nijkamp took a hard subject and turned it into a beautiful real novel, without taking from the reality of the situation. She had believable, diverse characters; she wrote about something that is very real and on the rise; and she kept me turning pages until the very end.