TRIGGER WARNING: GUN VIOLENCE
Author: Laurie R. King
Setting: Guadalupe Middle School, somewhere in California, present day
ARC received for review
It’s a typical day at Guadalupe Middle School. Well, except that it’s Career Day. But just like any day, it starts with kids and teachers, principal and guest speakers, all preparing for a day of school. There’s nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary to mark this as the day when several lives will change forever. It’s just Career Day.
But what everyone – Coach, Principal Linda, Officer Olivia, students Brendan and Esme and Chaco and Mina – don’t know is that a strange set of circumstances will convince a desperate man to take a desperate action.
I’ve read several of Laurie R. King’s book before. I love her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series, but I’ve never read any of her stand alone titles. I was intrigued by this one, but then when I got it, I was beginning to have second thoughts. First of all, it’s a really big book. And second, a school shooting? Did I really want to read about that?
Um, no. Not really. But I had already agreed to review the book. So I decided to at least give it a fair try.
It was hard at first. I kept reading little bits here and there, maybe because I was waiting for the shooting to start. I’d flip forward and say, “Nope, everyone’s fine,” and quit reading. But I kept with it. She changes POVs between lots of different characters. I didn’t have any trouble keeping them straight, but the chapters were so short it made it harder to get drawn into the book. Finally around page 200! I was really into the story.
It took me that long to realize that this book is not really about a school shooting. It’s about all the things that lead up to it, about all the people involved, all the lives that are touched, all the ways things could go differently, and everything that prepares us to be ready for when the real moment, the moment that matters comes.
In the end, I liked this one much more than I thought I would at first. The more I think about it, the more I would recommend it. But only if you are prepared for the suspense and the subject. If it’s too upsetting for you, then definitely don’t read this one. 4 /5 stars