by Shaun David Hutchison (and others)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (September 1, 2015)
Goodreads | Amazon
It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto 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, played 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.
Dear Violent Ends,
Anthology type books aren't usually my thing. It's not that I necessarily have anything against them; it's just I haven't had one totally grasp me, not like you did. I suppose technically you aren't really an anthology, because while each chapter is told from a different character and written by a different author (23! different authors!), you are still centralized around one character, one story, one dreadful day.
I was hooked within the first 'chapter' of you, Violent Ends. I literally could not put you down. I had other priorities that desperately needed to be done, but I drowned out the voice in the back of my head, and continued to read as if nothing else mattered in the world. For a second, nothing did. Nothing but your horrifying tale. Nothing but your tragedy that unfortunately happens all too often. Nothing but the overwhelming feelings that you brought out in me.
Kirby Matheson is his name, but the only other thing anyone needs to know about him is that it only took him a little over twenty minutes to go on a hunting spree in his high school auditorium. Or is it the only thing? What about who he was? Why he did the things he did? Were there reasons? Who were his friends? Did they know early on he was this way, or was he loyal? How did he treat other people? WHO was Kirby Matheson? And how does one escape becoming a monster like he did? Each chapter voices a new character, with new experiences, painting a broader picture of what happened before and after the shooting, sometimes even years.
I couldn't possibly pick a favorite viewpoint. There are SO many amazing authors putting their pen to paper inside your pages, and absolutely NONE of them disappoint. Each of them moved me to tears, or made me laugh, or frightened me. I felt like I was there with those characters, or that I was them. I honestly haven't read a book like you ever before, and I can't begin to speak highly enough of you. EVERYONE needs to get their hands on you. This is something that needs to be discussed, felt, understood, and prevented, and I hope that you are one way of doing that. You give a whole other perspective (or 23) of what this does to people, whether they are the victim or the villain. Maybe it will make people think about what they are doing/saying to people. Or maybe it won't. But it sure as hell made me think, and made me want to be a better person all-around. Thank you for this story. Now, *pushes it into everyone's hands* GO FORTH AND READ VIOLENT ENDS! Four stars!!!!