by Myers, Walter Dean

When his friend goes on a shooting rampage at school, misfit Cameron has to rethink his views on his life and his place in the world, in a powerful tale told through interviews, diary excerpts, and newspaper articles.

/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 7-12. Like Myers' Printz Award book, Monster (1999), this story is told from multiple viewpoints, and questions of guilt and innocence drive the plot and stay with the reader. This time there's a shooting in a high school. Len, a senior, commits suicide after he shoots a star football player and injures several others in the schoolyard. The actual facts of that carnage emerge slowly, as Len's best friend, Cameron, is interviewed at length by a therapist, a sheriff, and a threat-prevention specialist. Adding more perspective are newspaper and police reports, and Len's personal journal, which reveals his fury and hurt about his macho father and school bullies. The multiple narratives move the story far beyond case history, the chatty interview format is highly readable, and Cameron's voice is pitch perfect. One of the few black students in the school, he's an outsider like Len, but he's quiet about it, "an ordinary guy." He doesn't want to stand out; he does nothing about the racism implicit in an image of Martin Luther King on a shooting-range practice target, and he's ashamed. It's this bystander role readers will want to talk about, as well as who is to blame. Why does Cameron just go along with things? What about the parents, the principal, the counselors who knew about the bullying and tell Len to "grow up"? ((Reviewed February 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

When a shooting occurs at Madison High with two students killed and six injured, investigators try to get to the heart of the tragedy in hopes of preventing further occurrences. Absent or abusive parents, bullies at school, students feeling like powerless outsiders, access to guns, and a troubled student who's a "ticking bomb" waiting to go off seem to form the deadly combination, but is this after-the-fact analysis likely to help prevent future shootings? Told through transcripts of interviews, official reports, newspaper articles, Miranda warnings, and a handwritten journal, the story has the feel of an official report and about as much drama. The hodgepodge of documents and the dense print create a heaviness to the work, and readers may not have the patience to sift for the nuggets of insight the reports contain. Though the volume is not as effective in its innovative format as Myers's Monster (1999), the subject matter, as current as today's headlines, will attract readers. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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