Principal Trenton has just finished giving her speech at Opportunity High School’s assembly. The students, teachers and administrators make their way to the doors, quickly realizing they are locked. Unseen by everyone in the room, a boy with blond hair sticking out of a black cap enters the one unlocked door to the left, raises a gun and directs a student to lock the door. The shooting starts with the principal and continues to anyone who approaches the shooter. Panic, screams, blood and death follow in a matter of seconds.
Marieke Nijkamp holds nothing back in her gut-wrenching debut. The story unfolds in alternating chapters with multiple points of view: the shooter’s twin sister, Autumn; her girlfriend, Sylv; Sylv’s brother, Tomás; and the shooter’s ex-girlfriend, Claire. The shootings are graphic, the fear is real, and every move is a matter of life or death. Intensity and terror build at breakneck speed over the next 54 minutes, as the backstory of this shooting unfolds between the lines.
Through the narrators’ prose, Tweets and blog posts, Nijkamp approaches other serious, realistic issues, including bullying, abuse, rape and deep-seated grief and loneliness. With an ending that will leave readers rocked with fear, grief, chills and tears, this outstanding debut will hit close to home and is best suited for older teens.