Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser


If you know me, and if you don't know me you will now discover, I love School Shooting novels. Now, wait! Before you write me off as a psychopath, I like them because I truly believe that literature has the power to change people. I believe this, because it's happened to me. Reading, and reading a couple books in particular, have made me the person I am today; an accepting, compassionate person. And so, because of this fact, I like School Shooting novels because I want people to read them and see the destruction that acts like bullying and bad parenting and loose gun laws and neglect cause. Plus, I love books that make me sad and books with a lot of drama.

Give a Boy a Gun is written in choppy quotes by the people surrounding the shooting, most of which were in the room when the shooting occurred. It begins with what the boys were like in middle school (again, taken from bystanders) and progressing until their sophomore year; the story is interwoven with excerpts of Brendan and Gary (the shooters) suicide notes. The novel also includes factual statistics about gun violence at the bottom of every page like side-notes. It was both a terrible and terrific way to write this novel, completely heart-breaking but utterly believable.

It wasn't the best School Shooting book that I've read, but it was very well written and I would definitely recommend it to others. Of course, there were people within the novel that I didn't agree with, but the characters were all entirely believable. The novel builds and builds to the shooting itself, keeping you on the edge of your seat and wondering how the hell this whole thing is going to go down. The ending actually shocked me a little bit, because it didn't end the way I thought it would. But it ended destructively nonetheless. And, like expected, it breaks your freakin' heart.

The worst part about this book is how unknown it is.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

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