Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
To Be Published Date: January 2016
The plot of this story takes place in less than an hour. At 10am the principal finishes her speech to the entire student body in the auditorium. As everyone gets up to leave, they realize that the doors have been locked from the outside. At 10:05 someone starts shooting. What takes place over the next 54 minutes is revealed through the eyes of five characters as we discover the unfortunate events that lead up to this horrible situation and how they each deal with it.
Honestly, it pains me to not be able to give this a better review. This is such an important subject for youth to explore as our country sees more and more school shootings. But there were flaws that kept it from becoming fully engaging for me.
Being dropped in medias res as we are, we don’t have a chance to get to know these characters which makes it more difficult to feel for them other than horror for the situation they face. I imagine that we get a minute-by-minute telling so that we feel we are there in the situation, too. But having no understanding of the situation, that perspective is lost on us.
On the other hand, Nijkamp has to do a lot of development over the course of this book while giving the play-by-play of the shooting which takes away from the intensity of the situation. For instance, at one point one of the perspective characters goes out of his way to make sure one of the cheerleaders sees him leading a student to safety because he has been trying to work up the courage to ask her out for some time. This didn’t add to the story or this character, it felt inappropriate, and completely unrealistic.
I was intrigued by the real-time telling and multiple perspectives but really wish this had been carried out differently.
Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced readers copy!