Published: May 3rd 2016 by Razorbill
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…
I was really excited about getting a copy of this book and getting around to reading it. I really enjoy reading books with this kind of genre, so I guess that I had hyped it up a little bit in my head. Unfortunately, it did not live up to that hype! I feel like I didn’t really get what I was asking for and the shooting itself was secondary to the lives of the 5 teenagers that were stuck in the bathroom.
I really enjoyed the introduction to the book. A random awakening and being faced by a rabbit… it was a bit crazy and it definitely had me turning the pages to see what was going on! I also liked the introduction to each of the characters and their voices. They all seemed so different at the beginning, especially because the personalities were different and you had a range of the typical crowds you would have found in a secondary school. However, the voices seemed to begin to mesh together as the book went on and I often found myself having to go back to see whose perspective I was reading. The two voices who really stood out on its own was Xanders (who was socially awkward) and Noahs (an autistic character, whose perspective was written in a complete unique view…).
I definitely feel like the shooting was a secondary subject in this book. Most of the book actually focuses on the lives and issues of the 5 teens stuck in the mens bathroom in lockdown. We were faced with the typical issues of feeling lonely and insignificant and having absolutely no idea what they wanted to do after leaving secondary school (because they were at that point), along with the issues of stressful home life, college applications etc. It all came spilling out between the teens, who usually would never talk to each other or even look at each other on a general basis. It was almost like all this stuff came spilling out and then they remembered they were under lock down, and a school shooting was under way. It seemed very disassociated from each other – almost like I picked up a different book from about 65%.
Another issue I had with this book was how the shooting was actually resolved. It didn’t resemble real life at all and it was almost insulting to people who have suffered the horrors that happen in a school shooting like that. It was an extremely fake kind of thing and almost resembled a comic book like Xander was talking about. It didn’t seem very factual and didn’t actually focus all that much on the shooter himself. I was expecting more and I was definitely expecting someone who was stuck in the bathroom to be in on it in some form or another, but I was very disenchanted and disappointed with the whole thing.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book because I was expecting some spectacular. I always have high expectations of books like this because of the subject matter and I am disappointed when it doesn’t live up to the seriousness of the nature of the book. I gave this book 2/5 stars.