I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on September 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
Buy on Amazon
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.
But this isn't a story about the shooting itself. This isn't about recounting that one unforgettable day.
This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.
Each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he'd become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties.
This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA's most recognizable names.
This book was really interesting. It’s about a school shooting, and told in twelve different POV’s ranging from friends, other classmates, people who knew people who went to the school it happened at, and even the gun that Kirby used. It was interesting to hear about Kirby from people who knew him in some way or another, or about the event from those who didn’t know him. It’s tragic what happened, and to see how things changed with Kirby. How premeditated it was at the end. It was something he thought about, planned, and was somewhat pushed to. In this day and age where this is a topic that people do worry about, it’s a very important book. I think how it was told was equally important too since we get so many points of view.
Kirby is the one who is the shooter. He also takes his own life. No, that’s not a spoiler. You find that out pretty quickly in the book. He is pretty much a loner. He isn’t bullied mercilessly or anything like that, but he isn’t happy. He has friends, but very few. That is how he likes it. I think that how this book is told really does let us get to know Kirby pretty well and see how he was pushed over the edge. He doesn’t snap though, not completely. He is still smart, and mentally aware of what he is doing. It was sad that he does such a thing, and I wanted to feel bad for him, but I really couldn’t. What I did feel was sympathy for his family. The aftermath of what they have to go through. There is no way to justify that Kirby was mentally ill and needed help, or what if something had been different. No matter what, shooting people is a tragic and horrible situation. It does however show that some people are not mentally strong enough to take others not nice behaviors, or personal pressures in life. Everyone should treat every person with respect. You never know what someone might be dealing with.
It’s hard to really say that I liked this book since it’s about a school shooting. It’s not something you can like, but I liked how it was told and I thought that it really told a great story. Sometimes horrible things make great books. It makes you open your eyes to things a little more. I happen to be a person who doesn’t judge, and I treat people well, but some people, especially in school may not realize how their behaviors can affect others. Even if it’s not directed towards the particular person who might snap. This type of suicide story breaks my heart because not only has a young person taken their life, but they have taken other peoples too. And the whole gun control issues is a moot point. If a kid wants to get their hands on a gun, it doesn’t matter if their is one in the home or not. They will find a way. There are plenty of scum out there who don’t care who they sell that shit to. This book was heartbreaking and eye opening. I hope it finds its way into the hands of many people. Especially school age kids who could benefit from reading such a novel.
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Ksenia @ Ksenia's Book Blog
I’m really looking forward to read this book. So many POV, so many great authors. Wonderful review, Amy!
I am really excited for this book. When I saw it for the first time and I read the synopsis I was sooo intrigued. It’s not surprising if I say I’m glad you liked it. Multiple POVs are not usually my thing, but if they’re necessary to the story, then I don’t mind it. Great review.
Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books
I’m really excited for this book. Could you tell distinct difference between the different authors? Did it say which authors wrote which characters? Any favorites?
I will paraphrase a comment from Bryan Stevenson who wrote Just Mercy, he expressed that when a dramatic crime has occurred we define the accused as a monster; we define them by the crime, and as a two dimensional representation of the crime. Addressing this idea, Shaun David Wilkinson contacted authors he admired and broached this book, a book that delves into the facets and life story of a young man who has entered a school with his Glock intent on murder and suicide.