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Compass Book Ratings

Publisher's Note:  

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA’s most recognizable names.

Violent Ends

by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Overall Review:  

In the aftermath of tragedy, what does a town do to recover? How do citizens cope, when their world has been shaken up and turned upside down? It seems like recently, we, as a country, are seeing more and more violence and cruelty. I think that is why it is important that books like this one are being published--so that people can get an idea of how tragedy changes and molds a town, a family, a country.

Violent Ends was eye-opening in the way that books about tragedy often are. I have read quite a few books about school shootings, and thought I "knew my stuff", but this book isn't quite like the others. Instead, this book compiles multiple points of view from characters that were impacted by what happened on one fateful day, and the weeks leading up to it. I thought this was a fascinating way of looking at a fictional story that could very well be a true one.

The teens in this book give a glimpse of what it is really like to grow up and muddle through high school. They are so real; it almost feels as if you could touch them. Many of the authors that have a chapter in this book are ones that teens will already recognize by name, which is just one more reason to pick up this book. Adults should be reading this book also. If it is the only YA book you read this year, let it be this one. You might be shocked, sickened--you might cry. We need to be aware of reality though. This book gives us a good look at that.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  7 religious exclamations; 19 mild obscenities; 15 derogatory names; 16 scatological words; 12 anatomical terms; 23 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Two boys shoot and kill crow just for fun; a minor is mentioned to crash his scooter; a minor shoves a girl; a minor is bullied in a brief scene; a school shooting is mentioned to occur; a character urinates in public; a man is implied to be abusing  minor; a man attacks a minor with a belt to punish them; a minor stabs an adult in self-defense in a brief scene with no detail; a character considers suicide; a minor shoots a girl for no reason, some blood is mentioned; a boy handles a loaded gun; a suicide is mentioned; a minor breaks into a house; a character fantasizes about beating another character up; a minor boy observes his friend dying in his arms after being shot; nightmares are described briefly.

Sex/Nudity:  Minors are mentioned to kiss; a character is referred to as sexy; a "boob job" is referred to; adults kiss; a girl wonders what would be attractive to a boy; a boy implies he spread nude pictures of a girl around; a boy assumes a woman has had sex; a woman warns her son not to get a girl pregnant; a boy touches a girls breasts in one brief scene (teens); a teen boy and girl are implied to have sex, the boy tugs the girls jeans down; a girl and a boy lay together in what could be a sexual way.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Gun control, violence in youth, school shootings, murder, suicide, divorce.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Smoking weed is referred to; minors drink mixed drinks; minors smoke weed; minors steal beer; an adult smokes; and adult drinks rum; minors smoke; minors drinking at a social event is described; drugs are mentioned; adults drink wine.

Reviewed By Lydia
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