Published by Penguin on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Social Themes, Violence, Friendship, Peer Pressure
The Breakfast Club meets We Need to Talk About Kevin
A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them--could anything be worse?There's Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life. Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals, and homework assignments, each student reveals pieces of their true story as they wait for the drill to end. But this modern-day Breakfast Club takes a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school!Suddenly, the bathroom doesn't seem so safe anymore. Especially when they learn that one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized...
I wasn’t going to review Shooter, because it’s incredibly hard to put into words how much this book made me feel. There were times when I felt like I had nothing to say, too. Because what can you say? How can you enjoy a book like this? Not to mention everyone will likely react differently to this book, because it’s one of those that always provokes a response. What I will say is that this is an incredible read. From the very start I was hooked, and even though I didn’t have a clue where it was going, I was willing to go with it, wherever. It also terrified me, because I could feel the panic and fear running through Alice, Hogan and Isabelle. Not so much Noah and Xander, who both seemed to struggle socially, especially with Noah being autistic.
The writing in this book is incredible – how Caroline Pignat weaves the story is outstanding. I could always tell whose turn it was to narrate, and I liked that Isabelle’s included texts, Xander’s was mostly homework assignments and Noah’s didn’t really make sense, but it did make sense as to what was going on in his head, if that even makes sense. To offer five view points was so intriguing, and I think it helped my enjoyment of the book that, despite everything, despite the fact these five people were virtual strangers (except Alice and Noah who were siblings) they had each other. They weren’t alone, in the bathroom. And the way they all spoke so freely was so refreshing, because who’s going to judge you when you all might die any second? I feel like we really got to see into all of their minds. Alice and Hogan intrigued me the most, although I found Xander’s honesty (or lack of filter) refreshing and I changed my mind multiple times about Isabelle.
This was a genuine book that properly effected me. I’m lucky enough to live in a country that doesn’t have many shootings and hasn’t, to my knowledge, ever had a school shooting. I cannot imagine the terror of going through that, and Caroline Pignat really brought that through on the page. She created amazing, likeable characters and combined them with a plot that had me on the edge of my seat throughout.