Everyone is gathered in the auditorium of Opportunity High as Principal Trenten gives her usual, boring start-of-semester talk. It's 10:00 and in the next 54 minutes, the lives of the students, teachers and residents of Opportunity, Alabama will change forever. The students are dismissed from the assembly but no one can leave. The doors to the gymnasium are locked from the outside.
Enter the shooter and the horror begins. Nijkamp tells the story from the viewpoints of Autumn, Claire, Sylv and Tomas. Claire isn't in the assembly so we get the tension of knowing there is a tragedy taking place but being outside. Autumn and Sylv are trapped inside and the shooter just happens to be the brother of the former and the ex-boyfriend of the latter. Tomas and another "bad" boy are in the principal's office where they have broken into a filing cabinet.
In the 196 pages and 54 minutes over which the novel takes place, we learn about family dysfunction and abuse, teenage angst and mental illness.
I usually don't read YA fiction but this book is a New York Times bestseller and a Big Library Read. It is available for download on Overdrive- no reserving, no waiting. If one is interested, there is an on-line discussion group. I stayed up later to finish this book. It was well worth the time.
I am an avid reader and like to share some of my "finds" with others.