May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through–no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her. Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister…and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band. Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.
A book about what happens after school shootings. I knew this book would be heartbreaking, and I never know how I will react to those kinds of books. Sometimes they hit really well, and sometimes the emotions feel really overwhelming. But I wanted to give this one a try. It’s something that is so prevalent now and it’s something I wanted to give a try. Trigger warnings: This book deals with a school shooting. It’s a hard book to read, so please take care of yourself.
This book is real. It’s raw and it does not shy away from showing real life and real emotions, not matter how messy they are. It’s stark.
This book made me uncomfortable, but I think in a good way? There’s so much feeling to it. May is so angry and she is carrying so much. She doesn’t know what do with everything that’s on her shoulders. Zach has similar problems. He’s sad and he’s frustrated. None of these feelings are shied away from. They’re there in all their messy glory. Sometimes it felt a bit overwhelming for me, but I can appreciate them.
This book was also messy. May is seriously struggling. She makes decisions that are questionable. She says things that could be considered rude. Her thought process is skewed. Zach is trying his best, and sometimes he takes the wrong path. Sometimes emotions overwhelm them and sometimes they do things that aren’t the best. It was so real. It felt so realistic. The way May thought and the way May acted was so true to real life. I could understand her thought process and I could understand why she was doing what she was doing. Both of them of carrying so much and their emotion development was handled with such care.
It’s hard to find what else to talk about. I was wondering why when I read reviews, they always seemed to be an overview instead of something more specific, but I understand now. I don’t really want to talk about character development or anything other than that this book was done so well. It did what it was trying to do. It brings a light to something that we need to talk about. It brings a light to the pain people suffer after a shooting. It’s just something that so real and so raw and it’s done with care. I highly recommend reading it, if you feel like you can handle it.
There’s also an author’s note at the end, that was something amazing. I can’t thank Lawson enough for including.
This book is full of pain and anger. It’s heartbreaking. But I’m really glad I read it, because it’s something so true to what is actually happening.
Thank you for reading!