Author: Marieke Nijkamp.
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. (Publisher’s summary.)
This could have been an amazing book. It wasn’t. Despite the frequent flashbacks from different points of view, which both confused me as to who had what sad backstory and also slowed the action down greatly, none of the characters became sharply defined in my mind. I had trouble keeping track of whose pov I was in at the time, and what sort of backstory they had with the shooter, because they often seemed similar.
The shooter’s backstory was explored a little through the other characters, but his real motivation and phsychology was never brought out – at least I hope so. The other option is that the meager information we got was his motivation. I finished with an overall sensation of confusion, not even attached enough to any of the characters to feel particularly sorry for their deaths.
Sexual content: One character forcibly kisses another. Two girls kiss, romantically. Character says “Screw up, screw boys,”. One character is raped off-screen.
Language: 8 F-words, 8 hell, 3 d***, 3 scatological terms.
Violence: Boy knocks a girl down, kicks her, then pins her down. Scene ends, and later it is confirmed he raped her off screen. Girl remembers being beaten, abused, by her father who struggles with anger problems. Character hits girl in the face with a gun barrel. Multiple children and adults shot and killed, very little detail here.