Title: Boy Shattered
Author: Eli Easton
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Novel (317 pages)
Publisher: Self Published (16 Oct 2016)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.
Review: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton is nothing short of amazing. To be honest from reading the blurb I didn’t know what to expect, but Easton is one of my favorite authors and I was therefore more than willing to give it a go.
When I started this young adult tale of a teenager who survives a mass shooting at his high school, I thought to read only half of it and finish the rest the next night. Instead, I stayed up all night and cried from start to finish, Seriously, get those tissues ready, it’s impossible not to feel the depths or horror and despair and hope in this book.
The story is written from the POV of two teenage boys, one is a high school senior and the other is a couple years off of finishing. Landon, the senior, is out and proud to the rest of the school and not at all popular. Meanwhile Brian is a jock. He’s the quarterback on the football team, he’s friends with other jocks and to hide his sexuality he has even dated cheerleaders. Two of his friends seem to show some homophobic tendencies, while his best friend is more down to earth. Landon and Brian have both noticed each other but due to the social circles they occupy, nothing ever happens between them, or even any sort of acknowledgement of each other’s existence.
Everything changes for the boys when two gunmen open fire at the school, changing their worlds forever. Caught in the hallway, Landon does his best to find his brother and finds Brian bleeding out in the cafeteria. Brian hadn’t meant to be in the cafeteria, but when the bullets started he tried his best to hide and take cover. Brian wasn’t so lucky and as he bleeds out, Landon did his best to put pressure on the wound and keep Brian conscious.
Landon saved Brian’s life that day, but Brian has a long road to recovery. He and Landon grow close, although it is easy to see that what may have started as a dependency caused by Brian’s PTSD has turned into something more meaningful. Brian’s brush with death leaves him with a lot of fears but it also makes him want to step out of the shadows and be who he is, albeit very slowly. Landon also changes, he was already a smart and sensible guy, but he takes his passion for wanting to help others, especially since he sees the varying effects of a shooting first hand at himself and everyone at school. Landon has a great head and mind. He is one of the most inspiring characters I’ve come across, not only in young adult fiction, but any fiction.
This is a wonderful young adult novel, yet I think that it would be valuable and enjoyable for many adults as well. It is so easy to relate to the kid’s thoughts and feelings because despite the horrible circumstances it is easy to place yourself back in the mind of being a teenager once more.
The subject matter is confronting. The romance in the book is merely incidental to the actual guts of the book. However, it was the perfect mix of emotion. As many Australians, it’s difficult to understand the lack of urgency for gun reform in the US and this book highlights it all the more.
And that is the only personal view on a current affair I will put into the book review, understand that reading the book is very thought provoking and had me thinking about this. It also had me thinking, how many kids fear going to school because they know people from their school, or from other schools, who have been touched by this horror.