by Marieke Nijkamp
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult
Publication Date: January 5, 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
10:00 am: The principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 am: The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 am: The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 am: Someone starts shooting.
Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as the students at Opportunity High struggle to survive—and to understand why one boy started shooting.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I kind of knew what I was getting into when I read the synopsis but I had no idea it would make me feel so much and be on the borderline of tears. This story is told in four POV’s: two girls in the shooting that happened in the gym, one girl outside at the tracks and one boy inside the school but not in the shooting. Each one was so heartbreaking because each one of them had someone they deeply cared about in the gym and they couldn’t really do much to help. I could feel their frustration and their terrified emotions. It’s like I became one of them while reading this story. The author sucked me in from the terrifying beginning to the bitter-sweet end.
The atmosphere of the story was without a doubt intense and suspenseful. When the shooter starts killing people randomly, even those he wasn’t intending on killing, you realize that he really doesn’t have any remorse and that’s when the number one question hits you: “Who will survive this?” I’m glad Marieke decided to go ahead and write this book because I think this is what it truly goes down in real life. We hear about many people being shot and they didn’t even have anything to do with the shooter but because they were there at the wrong place and wrong time, they suffered. That’s exactly what happens in this book and it really shakes you to the very core.
I wished the author had written a POV from the killer. I know why he did what he did but I don’t think the reader really gets it. There isn’t much background on the character as I would have liked to somehow understand the reasons for doing this. Nonetheless, this story grips you right from the start. There were some minor romantic aspects in the story that I wish hadn’t been there to make the story feel even more realistic.
The ending was heart-breaking. There were so many deaths but it brought the students close. The ending itself was beautiful and it made me shed a tear or two. This is a must-read for everyone because it’s a powerful, emotional and thought-provoking story with diverse characters that many will enjoy and will not forget.
The only things that give us purpose are the stories that tie us together. We all have so many secrets to keep.
We might not be able to beat this together, but we definitely can’t face it alone.
When we reach out to join hands, we’re all aware of the thirty-nine dead. Of the twenty-five in the hospital. So many lost. So many broken.
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