Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Violent Ends

I read this book in one day. It's 338 pages, and the story is intense, obviously because any story about a school shooting can't not be intense. But it was so well-written.

Not too long ago I read This Is Where It Ends, which relays a school shooting scenario from various points of view over the course of the day. I had alot of trouble getting into the book though, and the constant jumping around to different characters' POV's was distracting to me. This book also has various characters narrating the story, but each character narrates just one chapter- there's no jumping around.

A few things set this book apart from similar ones I've read: one is that this was not written by a single author. In fact, seventeen different YA authors contributed to this novel, each author developing one character that narrates a chapter. It came together seamlessly though, and I kept forgetting that multiple authors were responsible for creating the story. Definitely a fantastic example of collaborative work.

One chapter that was a little different than the authors is the chapter narrated by the gun itself. I've never read a story like this, with such a grim and realistic plot, that utilizes the POV of a personified object. It requires the reader to indulge in a bit of fantasy (because obviously the gun can't really talk or have memories); it's a bit risky on the author's part because if it disrupts the reader too much, it might alienate him/her. But the chapter works because it did provide some exposition and some insight that we would not be privilege to otherwise.

Lastly, even though there are seventeen characters narrating the story, the shooter is not one of them. Kirby, that's his name, does appear in each chapter, but he does not have his own chapter. Thus, we are never told directly why he chose to do what he did, what led him to it, or why he singled out the people he did. We can only make suppositions based on what the other characters have said.

If a reader is looking for a novel on this topic, this is one of the better ones I've read. But I'd also recommend it for other more general purposes like the collaborative quality, the personification of the gun as a narrative tool, and other instances of strong writing. One of the chapters had a great surprise at the end, and I had no idea who the character was until the very last page, but I don't want to spoil it.

I'm glad I had this novel yesterday while I was trapped inside on a snow day.

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