In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.
But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.
This is about one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing bullets at his classmates.
Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book told from multiple perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—by some of YA’s most recognizable names.
Seventeen young adult writers including Steve Brezenoff, Beth Revis, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Courtney Summers contribute to this powerful project a single story told through multiple perspectives to provide insight into what drove Kirby Matheson, an imagined school shooter, to kill five classmates, a teacher, and himself. The voices include those of Kirby's girlfriend, childhood neighbor, and even the gun he used, creating an external portrait of a complex character who "did some good things and some monstrous things in life." There are hints at Kirby's motivation he saves a suicidal student, kills helpless bugs, gets bullied, is preyed on by a teacher but, as is often the case in real life, the killer never explains himself. In the aftermath, Kirby's younger sister realizes that the shooting "doesn't define her" or even tell Kirby's whole story, while a school bully wonders why when Kirby "had a shot at me... he didn't take it." These stories humanize a troubled teenager, as well as the people who hurt him along the way, but the authors don't let anyone off the hook, Kirby least of all. Ages 14 up.
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