First of all, thanks to Delacorte Press and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title. I just finished reading it the day before it was published, also the day it would expire. It was a quick read. At first I was worried that it was going to suffer in comparison to another school shooting book, The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. But as I really got to reading it, I began to see how it was its own type of story, and truly, it wasn’t really a school shooting story, although that is kind of what it is made out to be in the blurb on Goodreads.
This story is told as we follow Emily Beam. Her boyfriend is the one who brought the gun to school. Only he ended up only shooting himself, and no one other than Emily ever had the gun pointed at them. Emily had been pregnant, and while she knew she didn’t want to have a baby at her age, Paul was excited and happy about it. They’d said they loved each other, but with this hanging over her head, Emily now wasn’t sure about what the future would bring. Her parents took her away to Boston after all the tragedy, and she got into a boarding school. The town is where Emily Dickinson was from, and like Dickinson, Emily Beam is also a poet. And that is the one thing that really made this book its own story, in such an original and unique way. We get to read the poems all through the story, and they paint such a vivid picture of Emily’s feelings, the things that happened before the story started, and how her world is changing. I could totally see, as a former teacher, how this could be used in a classroom.
As I said before, I was afraid I’d be disappointed as I began, but turned out it was a really great story, and the prose portion was just such an extra perk, making the story even more complete and real. There is one quote I loved, it is Emily’s roommate and friend K.T. who is talking to Emily about God, or really about whether things make you a bad person.
“If God made us in His image, then maybe we have a right to play God when we can’t find Him anywhere. But we will find Him, eventually.”
That is just so deep, and really made me think. Hope you feel that way as well!