By: Jennifer Brown
Paperback: 405 pages
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish date: October 5th, 2010
Rating: 5 stars
What Goodreads has to say: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
My Review: Thought Provoking. If I had to describe this book in few words those are the ones I would choose. It has also been called riveting, starling, and powerful and I would have to agree with those conclusions as well. I came across this book on a lazy Sunday while browsing around my local Barnes&Nobel. The cover, while mostly grey in color, stuck out to me among the other books. The cover art was simple and clean and I found myself picking it up and after reading the description on the back taking it to the counter to purchase. I spent the next two days glued to this book. The big event of the story, a school shooting, was something that seemed all to real after all that has happened the past few years regarding the matter. The part that struck me most about this book however was not only the interesting point of view the other decided to take but also how the story became so much more than just a story about a school shooting. The shooting became a background piece to a story about loss, grief, strength, fear, and ones ability to survive it all even if one must do it alone. The characters are so well written I found myself messaging a friend while reading to discuss with her my frustrations one character or another. There were a few times I just stopped reading to take a moment and consider what I might do if presented with the same situation. This book makes you think and I love that. It starts conversations, it provokes personal reflection and it shows and honest portrayal of a world that is at times more full of hate than love. The book also includes an interview with the author and discussion questions that can be used in a classroom or teaching setting. I feel this book was certainly worth every dollar I paid for it and I intend to pass it along to my younger sister, I am 22 and she is 14, and I am confidant she will take as much from this book as I have, perhaps she will even reflect on things that I did not. I think this will be a book I think about for a long time and I encourage anyone looking for a good read to pick it up.
About the Author:
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.
Her website: http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/