Author: Eli Easton
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Novel (264 pages)
Publisher: Harmony Ink / Dreamspinner (13th August 2019)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Blurb: Popular athlete Brian had everything until a school shooter nearly killed him. He survived the massacre with the help of a hero—his classmate Landon, who faced death to help others… and who is openly gay. Brian might be alive, but he can’t face his fears or move on, especially since the shooters were never caught. He’s falling apart, and he can only reach for Landon and hope Landon will take his hand a second time.
Landon did what anyone would do when he found Brian dying on the cafeteria floor. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but he’s ready to take a stand against the gun violence tearing apart the lives of young people—people like Brian, who returned to school a shadow of the happy, outgoing quarterback Landon used to admire. Brian still needs him, and as their friendship grows and deepens, wounds might begin to heal. The bond they share could lead a new start for them both.
Only the terror that visited Jefferson Waller High School isn’t over yet.
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.