"Books Fall Open, You Fall In"
I rated this book 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
An auditorium filled with students and teachers. One former student with a gun. 54 minutes of terror.
**Please note: this review contains some spoilers**
Wow. I’m not sure where to begin. This story was truly intense and heartbreaking. It’s told from the perspective of 4 different students who each have a connection to the shooter. I admit I initially had trouble keeping the characters and their relationships sorted in my head. It was all a bit confusing at first and I found myself having to go back to make sure I knew who was who. Once I was able to get passed that though, and the story started to flow, I could not put it down. The overall emotions were, at times, overwhelming. Fearful, confused, stunned, scared, angry, and just a general feeling of helplessness as Tyler focuses his cold fury at everyone who he feels wronged him was very powerful. I could not, and would not, want to imagine what that would be like.
When it came to the connections, I felt that Autumn stood out to me the most. Perhaps it was because Tyler was her brother, but I just felt like out of the four, her story was more developed. I found myself paying closer attention to her parts than anyone else’s in the book. Claire was the character I connected with the least and found my attention wavering when it came to her. I just couldn’t get a feel for her for some reason. Maybe it’s because she isn’t in the auditorium and is more on the outside of the events. Maybe it’s because her connection wasn’t explored as deeply as it should have been. Either way, I feel the author missed their opportunity with her and didn’t delve deep enough to make her character stand out. The same could be said for Sylvia and Tomas. Although Tyler was not one of the perspectives, he is a central character. He’s the reason they all feel and experience what they do. He was both typical and not. His reasons are both stated and held back. His motives are given but at the same time, you never really get an idea of who he is and why he’s that way. Not completely. He remains somewhat of a mystery…but let’s face it, it’s not his story.
As far as the writing style, it was a bit jumbled initially and the execution was a tad shaky, but it was still a gripping read. Once you got a hang of the jumping between characters, it became easier to follow. The ending was tragic and left you breathless. At least it did for me. Some people have said that it was a disappointment and an insult to those who have been through it, but honestly, I don’t think there is a way to get this type of story right. It’s going to be a hit or miss for people. For me, it punched me in the stomach and left a lingering impact.
When it comes to whether or not I would recommend this book, I really can’t answer that. Considering the subject matter and the violence it contains, I would say read at your own risk.
Total pages: 288, Kindle edition
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