Publishing Date: January 20, 2016
Pages: 288 pages
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise: I've taken the following premise from the publisher because it sets it up nicely without giving too much away:
"10:00 a.m. 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.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 Someone starts shooting.
Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terrorreigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival" (Sourcebooks).
My overall thoughts and review: When I was at a blogger preview, they mentioned this book and I wanted to read it immediately! I got an e-galley copy of it and I was able to finish it in one sitting. Some moments were quite hard for me to read because it tackles a school-shooting. I always find with stories like this, it either is from the perspective of the shooter or the victims and what Nijkamp offers young readers is the perspective from both and the many people who are involved but not directly (not in the auditorium while the shooting is occurring). The topic of school shootings in general make me a bit apprehensive and hesitant when it comes to deciding what to read, because it is so intense that I feel like I can't handle it. Some scenes in the book were particularly hard for me to read and I felt in some moments, I was in the situation, just wanting to get away. The book also incorporates how "social media" works during a situation like this, which most people don't mention so that was nice. The story was told from four perspectives and although I enjoyed that, some perspectives I felt weren't fully fleshed out. I wanted to know much more about certain characters, especially the shooter and I think this could've been developed, had there been additional chapters. Overall, I think the story was well-written, it is an important topic that needs to be in constant discussion, and I think most YA contemporary fans will enjoy this. It offers multiple perspectives so I think there is something for everyone in this book. I think fans of Ellen Hopkins and Andrew Smith will enjoy this read!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)