Rating: 3.7 Stars
Five students are trapped together in a bathroom during a lockdown. While they initially think that it’s a drill, as the hour progresses throughout the book, they come to understand that the danger is real.
I picked up this book as the cover art caught my attention, and because it is on the Red Maple Book List 2017. I did enjoy how fluid and how quick the book was. Pignat has an excellent writing style, and the mix of poetry and prose served the book well. She’s definitely an author I’d like to keep following.
Considering the dark nature of examining a school shooting, this book was surprisingly tame, and not at all graphic. The focus is placed more on the individual characters, their stories and their development within the time in the bathroom. Its not like “This is Where it Ends” which has a heavy focus on the shooting itself.
There were a few areas where I had believability issues. I had a hard time understanding the timeline, and how the whole affair outside the bathroom took an hour. It seemed a little unrealistic that it would take that long considering the police were on the scene, but I understand the necessity to create a time block to get to know your characters.
The characters themselves, although each captivating and interesting with their own story, seemed too perfectly contrived for this “happen to be all in the same bathroom” setting. It made for great reading, and great conflict, but it was hard to come to terms with how nicely it seemed to fall into place.
I did have real issues with Isabelle as a character because I found her attention to the mundane unrealistic considering the circumstances.
Recommendation: Out of the seven books on the Red Maple Book List that I’ve read, it is definitely one of my favourites. So if you’re trying to decide which ones to read, this is a good pick. I find it odd that the characters are so much older for a Red Maple Entry, but it’s a really well done book on a topic that intrigues and terrifies a lot of students.