An extremely tragic story that I kind of wish I never read.
- Character Death
- Mass Shooting
At the beginning of the semester, the principal of Opportunity High School gives the same welcome speech. Every year the speech finishes exactly at 10:00 and the students file out of the auditorium to go to their classes.
Only, when the students try to leave the auditorium this year, the doors won’t open. It only takes a few minutes before the shooting begins.
Review (No Spoilers)
I’m going to start this review by saying do not read this book if you are easily triggered by violence. I was a complete mess by page 90 and I honestly didn’t even want to finish the book. If I were more prone to DNFing books, I probably would have stopped right there. There are even times where it felt like the author purposefully upped some of the tragedy to elicit stronger emotional reactions from the readers.
The book is told through the POVs of 4 different characters: two who are outside the auditorium and two who are inside. There were two characters that I kept on confusing for each other despite the fact that one of them was inside and one of them was outside. I feel like this was the fault of there being too many names introduced at once in the beginning of the book. Once you get to the heart of the story, the characters sort themselves out a bit.
Every so often there is a flashback to give background information on who these characters are. As much as I appreciated the attempt to provide more detail, I found these flashbacks incredibly annoying. Every time I noticed the font changing to italics I was internally rolling my eyes. It reminded me of when TV shows have those filler episodes where you’re just like GET ON WITH THE STORY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. I didn’t feel like they added enough given how frequent they were.
Speaking of not adding enough, there are also inclusions of tweets, text messages, and posts that I felt was completely unnecessary. The characters that kept repeatedly showing up in tweets and posts were forgettable and I didn’t feel connected to them at all. I would have much rather had those taken out and replaced with more interactions between the MCs and their stories.
Aside from those distractions, the story wasn’t all that bad. I think the idea was there but that it was a simple case of the author trying to do too much. I probably wouldn’t read it again simply because of how triggering it was for me, but I wouldn’t actually tell anyone not to. I really think it’s important for people to know just how terrible shootings are and this book does a really good job at showing that.