Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shooter by Caroline Pignat

Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill | Penguin Canada
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Reason: Personal Interest
Find the Author: Website

The Breakfast Club meets We Need to Talk About Kevin
A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them--could anything be worse?There's Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life. Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals, and homework assignments, each student reveals pieces of their true story as they wait for the drill to end. But this modern-day Breakfast Club takes a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school!Suddenly, the bathroom doesn't seem so safe anymore. Especially when they learn that one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized...


This book was recommended to me by a neighbour and a friend who happens to be a teacher. She read this book to her middle-grade class and raved about it. After learning the subject matter of this book, I knew I couldn't pass up this recommendation. I am a strong supporter of books that tackle tough and relevant topics. Shooter definitely hit the mark when it came to addressing the hard yet real-life issues that students endure on a daily basis: bullying, social and academic pressures, fitting in, not fitting in, etc, and what these students do to cope with the stressors of their lives. 

Shooter spans over the course of an hour. 5 students locked in a Boys washroom during a school Lockdown drill...only, it is not a drill. As referenced, this book definitely takes on a 'Breakfast Club' vibe, which I loved. Hogan(the jock), Xander(the nerd), Isabelle(the princess), Alice(the good girl) and Noah(Alice's autistic brother) are all polar opposites. Throughout the novel they clash more than once, but despite some of the hostility and their "social rankings" there are moments of beautiful vulnerability. Glimpses inside their souls and the darkest corners of their thoughts. 

With some of the horrible headlines hitting the news and shows like 13 Reasons Why, this book couldn't be more relevant for the time we are living in.  Bullying is a worldwide issue, it's a pandemic. We are losing so many lives due to the actions of others, or the lack of actions entirely. I think this is a book that belongs in every school curriculum. It needs to be on every teacher reading list. What I loved most about Shooter was its ability to handle these matters in a way that didn't make this book inaccessible to the youth. It's perfectly appropriate for a young reader. 

This is my first book by Caroline Pignat, but I am already eager to dive into her previous and future work. She has a simple writing style that makes for an easy breezy reading experience. Shooter was a fast-paced novel that had me flying through the pages, desperate to know the outcome. It's both heart-wrenching yet hopeful.  Shooter was a great read with an even greater message!

"Don't judge a book by the chapter you walk into" -Alice 
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