Ruminations from student journalists in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings.
Edited by two MSD teachers who themselves write of their experiences on that day, the short essays focus primarily on the students’ ongoing emotional states and general observations about the decidedly mixed treatment they received in the tragedy’s aftermath from the press, politicians, and over social media. These are interspersed with tributes to select individuals who performed “Extraordinary Acts” and also with photos that, being nearly all uncaptioned, provide more atmosphere than information. Young grass-roots activists will find no specific reform agenda here, though several contributors do offer savvy general advice. If some of the prose is less than stellar, there are plenty of mature, thoughtful insights to compensate: “We are navigating our way through our grief, which includes guilt,” writes Carly Novell. “We can live and remember, but we can’t live our lives stuck on February 14.” Unlike David and Lauren Hogg’s #NeverAgain (2018), this is less a coherent manifesto than a chorus of individual voices feeling pain, describing learning experiences, discovering the heady power of collective action—and expressing determination that, when it comes to real change, “it didn’t happen after Columbine in 1999, but it will happen now.” Debut author and editor Falkowski adds eloquent arguments for the importance of high school journalism programs and independent student-run school newspapers.
Scattershot but cogent and encouraging. (MSD media awards, contributor profiles) (Nonfiction. 12-18)