In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.
But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.
This is about one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing bullets at his classmates.
Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book told from multiple perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—by some of YA’s most recognizable names.
Violent Ends is about a school shooting, which is why I picked it up. These have been occurring way too often across the United States recently, and it’s a topic that’s being talked about often. This story is also an anthology, yet each chapter is told from a different perspective of someone in regards to what happened at the school. Some of the characters are from the other school, some were friends of the shooter, and some were ones that ended up murdered.
My favorite chapter of all was written by Neal and Brendan Shusterman and was called “Presumed Destroyed”. This chapter was a change from the rest of the characters and POVs throughout the story, as it was actually through the point of view of the gun that Kirby used. It was very interesting and different.
Part of me is upset that there wasn’t a chapter told through Kirby’s point of view. We get perspectives from people who know of him or who were even his friend, but because the reader never gets his point of view, we never actually get to know him. We only really know what other people say about him, which I guess is how it ends up being anyway in real life.
I would suggest picking this one up if you’re interested. It was a very different read, but there were some parts that were very chilling.