A variety of characters affected by a school shooting offer their perspectives in this work of realistic fiction penned by 17 different authors and coordinated by Hutchinson.
When Kirby Matheson, a high school student with a history both of being bullied and of coming to the aid of others being maltreated, kills six of his fellow students and then himself, everyone searches for answers. Each chapter offers a singular point of view from a person who knew him well, such as his sister, a close friend whom he tried to help escape horrific sexual abuse by her father, and a girl with whom he'd had a romance, as well as those who knew Kirby only in passing: a former neighbor, a cheerleader with an eating disorder who'd previously been in the school band with him, and a girl who turned down his invitation to a school formal. A vignette from the point of view of his childhood tormentor is deeply troubling. The most experimental section is narrated by the gun Kirby used to commit the murders. This collection of stories provocatively and effectively illustrates the multidimensionality of someone considered to be a monster, and readers will find much of it fascinating and moving. However, the sheer number of perspectives feels unwieldy at times.
Engaging and heart-wrenching but spread a bit too thin. (Fiction. 14-18)