Posts Tagged 'school shooting'

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

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357 p.

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

Louna works for her mother’s successful wedding planning business, but after having her heart broken a year prior she is not sure there is such a thing as a happy ever after.  Her mother and her mother’s business partner, William, also feel this way and Louna worries they are getting too pessimistic and jaded.  Then, they meet Ambrose who is the crazy optimistic little brother of a bride and nothing ever seems to get him down.  At first Louna sees this as simply shirking responsibility and not caring about his future, but after he lands a summer job working alongside her, she begins to see he is just hopelessly helpful and always hopeful that everything will work out positively.  Eventually, Louna realizes she wants to be more like that, but will that mean officially “getting over” the terrible thing that happened in her past relationship?  Will she ever really have a chance at another true love?

Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this new title, but the characters don’t quite stick with the reader the way they do in some of her other books such as The Truth About Forever.  The way Louna’s previous relationship ended definitely adds a unique twist that will surprise readers.  Overall, a fun, fast story for readers who love romances.

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The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  340

RAC:  Yes

Daphne goes to a school where all of the students have been tested by a program called PROFILE.  This computer program measures the likelihood that someone could have violent or social problems in the future.  After a school shooting incident, the parents all demand that the results of these tests be released so that anyone who is “predicted” to be violent or otherwise abnormal can be removed from classes with their children.  Daphne’s mother was one of the scientists who helped create PROFILE and left the project because it went against her moral beliefs.  She strongly opposes revealing these results.  Then, a teenage girl is found beaten and left for dead after a big party and the accused culprit is Daphne’s boyfriend.  Could he be a predicted?  Could he be capable of something this violent?  Even if a person is predicted isn’t there a possibility they could change or choose not to act on their violent tendencies?

This story raises some interesting questions about how a test like this might affect the behavior of everyone involved.  However, the plot twists are fairly predictable and the plot itself moves slowly.  This could be good for classroom discussions about societal expectations and you could even draw comparisons to internment camps and the Holocuast, but it could be a difficult sell for students free reading.

Endgame by Nancy Garden

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 15 and up

# of Pages: 287 p.

RAC Book: NO

Gray Wilton and his family have just moved to a new town partially due to his behavior in the previous town. The book is set up so that Gray recounts the events of the past year to his attorney, but the reader does not know why he needs an attorney for a while. Gray began the school year with a positive attitude. He wanted to have good grades and play drums in the band, but despite his best efforts he becomes the target of some ruthless bullies. If that’s not bad enough, he fights with his father a lot because he does not feel he can be honest with anyone regarding the bullies and therefore gets into other kinds of trouble on his own. As the year goes on, things get worse and worse until Gray feels he must take drastic and disturbing measures.

This book focuses on violence in schools. While some scenes in this book may be a tad dramatic, there are probably many students out there who live life with daily fear of getting made fun of or physically injured at school. Gray’s reluctance to seek help starts to seem difficult to understand as things continue to get worse for him. In the end, it is clear that he has no idea what he has really done and what it means for the rest of his life. This is a powerful story that contains no easy answers, but many questions for adults and teens to consider about this difficult topic.