A sensitive treatment of high school shootings and their impact on families of both perpetrators and victims.
Sixteen-year-old Skye Gilchrist is returning to her hometown three years after a deadly shooting. Her brother was one of the perpetrators, killed by police during the incident. In the subsequent fallout, her father abandoned the family, she and her mother left town to live with her grandmother, and her mother spiraled into depression. Moving home to live with her aunt and attend high school with classmates who were affected by her brother’s actions is hard, especially since her former best friend and crush, Jesse Mandal, lost his brother, Jamil, in the shooting and isn’t quite sure how to deal with Skye’s reappearance. Shunned by peers and anonymously bullied online and in cruel pranks, Skye’s concerns are dismissed by the grown-ups around her as attention-seeking. Jesse, a Bangladeshi-American Muslim boy, has his own challenges as he also tries to avoid school bullies and overperforms in an attempt to comfort his parents and compensate for Jamil’s death. Armstrong paints a refreshingly authentic and touching portrait of Jesse and his family as they deal with their grief. Alternating first-person accounts by Jesse and Skye build a compelling plot and well-developed characters. Skye and her family are white.
A powerful thriller that will surprise you at every turn. (Thriller. 12-18)