Annike: Hey guys, it’s Annike back here today for another review on a book that I got for my birthday and had actually been wanting to read for such a long time, so let’s get into it!
Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSD
When high school seniors Emery and Jake are taken hostage in the classroom where they tutor, they must work together to calm both the terrified children and the gunman threatening them–a task made even more difficult by their recent break-up. Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, uses deadly force when he’s denied access to his son because of a custody battle. The children’s fate is in the hands of the two teens, each recovering from great loss, who now must reestablish trust in a relationship damaged by betrayal.
So, to start off I really love the premise of this book because I think such a powerful topic is definitely worth writing about and because it is such a harsh reality it gives a lot of depth. Being from Australia, we don’t have many shootings or sieges and I consider myself very lucky for that, but I do know countries that would have these and I think a book like this really helps the world sympathise with such a strong topic, so I was very impressed with Beck McDowell for that.
I really liked the main characters in this book so it started off well. We have Emery, who is kind of the ‘good girl’ and I always seem to enjoy these type of characters, she is suffering from her own anxiety and this built tension. Then comes Jake, Emery’s ex-boyfriend and again I thought he was a very good calm under pressure character but I could see some of the bad mistakes he had made as a teen in the past including hurting Emery. Because the book is only 222 pages long, it was hard to connect to many of the characters and I didn’t like really how there were a number of children names who we neither knew nor really cared about when the plot was unfolding.
The pace of the story was pretty good as well at the beginning, the area is well established, if anything I think there needed to be more going on because even from the beginning I was wondering how a whole book was going to be made out of this small fraction of time. What really wasn’t well done was the ending though because the story was wrapped up very quickly and summed up in literally 1 chapter. Emery has just suddenly read the letter Jake sent to her months ago and I really needed more of a build up here to feel the emotion that would have definitely been there in this kind of situation.
I also had a bit of an issue with Brain Stutt who was the man keeping them hostage in the room. He never really felt like the enemy, never had any intention apparently of hurting them and he almost seemed nice when Emery was trying to talk to him and while I though it was a nice way to see deeper into someone who may be the threat in this kind of situation, at the same time it kind of got rid of all of the tension in the story and the fear.
Anyways, thanks for reading guys. That was just what I thought about this book but if any of you have read it please let me know what you thought because I’d love to hear some different opinions. I definitely recommend it, but beware that it is a strong topic. Thanks x
Star rating: 4/5 stars
“Now that I’m faced with the possibility of death, it seems kind of important to try to make up for some of my past mistakes. But that’ll be kind of hard if I have no future.”