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Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et al

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et alViolent Ends by Beth Revis, Blythe Woolston, Brandon Shusterman, Christine Johnson, Courtney Summers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Delilah S. Dawson, E.M. Kokie, Elisa Nader, Hannah Moskowitz, Kendare Blake, Margie Gelbwasser, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Shaun David Hutchinson, Steve Brezenoff, Tom Leveen, Trish Doller
Published by Simon Pulse on 01 September 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Anthology, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shades of Earth, Some Girls Are, All the Rage, Please Remain Calm, Bruiser, The Deathday Letter, Better, Where the Stars Still Shine

Place(s) Traveled To: Middleborough, Florida

First Line(s): Susanna Byrd turned nine that Thursday morning at 7:17 a.m.

When people think of school shootings they tend to think of Columbine (1999) yes they’ll reference the current school shooting but there is always a reference to this event. Its sad and scary to think of school shootings as a common place thing and there are times when it seems like before Columbine life was idyllic and that things like this just didn’t happen. I graduated in 1995, I was a pre-Columbine teenager but I wasn’t without knowledge and fear of what a school shooting could be. In 1988, in the town next door to the one that I grew up in there was a school shooting as a result of one student bullying another. In 1994 my town and that town merged to form one school system and my high school became the high school where this event occurred. I was 11 in 1988 and so I don’t recall much surrounding the events of the shooting when it happened but when the towns merged there was a lot of talk about it. And also lots of talk surrounding the courtyard where the shooting took place and if it should be reopened to students or not. Had enough time passed? Would it happen again? What will happen when you bring together two rival towns and try to make them one school.

There was fear then, in those pre-Columbine days. There was talk and meetings and rumors and gossip and even though the kids in my town weren’t part of that event it became ours as we heard about it and that school became our school. So when I read a book like VIOLENT ENDS that involves a school shooting I’m transported back to 1994, to high school, and to all the talk and remembering and fear of the shooting that happened there 7 years before. Tragically school shootings aren’t a new thing and until something major happens and we learn why or come up with a better way to deal with guns in America they will keep happening. With each occurrence the fear will get worse and more ingrained and books like VIOLENT ENDS will become even more important. VIOLENT ENDS is a unique story and is told by 17 different authors who are all telling the same story but different pieces of it. Different glimpse into the killer, Kirby Matheson and why he may have done what he did on that fateful day when he brought a gun to school.

I’ve read school shooting books before, HATE LIST (my review) and NINETEEN MINUTES, and while they hit home they didn’t effect me as much as VIOLENT ENDS did with just its first few chapters. I think this is in part to how the story is written because it just reminds of when I was in high school and the events of that 1988 event kept getting brought up by different people in different ways. During my read of VIOLENT ENDS I found that I needed to take a lot of breaks. This wasn’t an easy read and I had to pause and think about what I’d just read, process the chain of events that I was reading about, and just be in the present before being able to dive back into this world that Hutchinson had created. Throughout it all you only get these little pieces of the puzzle. You read about the day of the shooting from different moments in time but the one thing missing from VIOLENT ENDS is the complete picture.

Violent Ends Quote

The one viewpoint that we never see in VIOLENT ENDS is Kirby’s. You never learn why he did what he did or why who chose the victims he did. The picture you get of Kirby isn’t the crazy loner type that you often see when you hear about a school shooting. Kirby was liked by his peers and his home life was pretty ordinary. So why did he snap? In the end, we’re left with almost as many questions as we start with but VIOLENT ENDS isn’t a book that feels incomplete. Yes, there are pieces to the puzzle missing but its a raw and powerful story and its the sort of book that with each re-read you will learn something new in its pages.

VIOLENT ENDS defied all of my expectations and its hard to find the words to tell you just how amazing this story was. Its an emotional read and it hit me harder than I expected it too. This is a book where there are no easy answers and as a reader it will often make you feel helpless because you can’t stop the chain of events from happening. With each new chapter, each new POV, you become a part of this story. And despite the many authors that take part in this book it feels like one cohesive story. Often with an anthology things can be choppy and you don’t like all of the stories. But that isn’t the case here as VIOLENT ENDS isn’t an anthology as we think of anthologies. It really is one story and all these authors worked some impressive magic to take their very different styles and meld them together to seem like one. I think that VIOLENT ENDS is a must read and I can’t recommend it enough. The reading experience is as unique and different as the way it was written. This book will make you feel things and each person who reads this book will take away something different from

irishdarkblue

Oh and for those who might be wondering. The shooting that happened in my school involved a 15 year old gunman who was bullied by the kid that he shot in the head. It happened in the school’s courtyard and it was then closed off until 1994. The shooter only shot the one person and he was then sentenced to 3 years in juvie and released at 18 to move away to places unknown. The kid he shot survived albeit with some brain damage and he now talks to students about the dangers of bullying and is also a teacher.

 

IR - Violent Ends

 

Add Hate List by Jennifer Brown to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Nineteen Minutes to Goodreads.

 

four-stars
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David HutchinsonBetter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Anthology, Diseases, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 30
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Deathday Letter, Violent Ends

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Hamelin Space Ship

First Line(s): I feel real.

Original Story: Pinocchio The Pied Piper

I was never a huge fan of the whole Pinocchio story but in Better by Shaun David Hutchinson I have seen a potential in it that I never have before. Hutchinson’s version is much darker than the original and really lives up to promise of what I thought the Grim anthology should be. Hutchinson takes this pretty bland story and transports the reader into a futuristic world where a group of humans are flying through space looking for a new home. Think Across the Universe by Beth Revis but where things don’t go as well. Better is a quick read and I loved the promise of it. This is the sort of retelling that I was hoping every story in this anthology would be when I picked it up. Better is also a story that I would enjoy if there was more to it but at the same time I think that its pretty solid as it is.

Edit: I originally thought this story was based on Pinocchio but have since learned it was really The Pied Piper.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David HutchinsonThe Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse on 15 June 2010
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Better, Violent Ends

Place(s) Traveled to: Moriville, Florida

First Line(s): The first thing you need to know about Oliver Travers is that at the end of this story he’s going to die.

I was very fortunate to have read an advanced copy of The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Sharon, of Sharon Loves Books and Cats (and Zombies!). I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book as I didn’t know a ton about it before reading. One thing I didn’t expect was that opening scene. Yeah, as an adult female I did not need to read about a teen boy doing…well…something that teen boys are known to do. I’m not a prude but there are just some things that I would prefer not to read as an opener and that is one of them.

Overall though I did enjoy the concept of The Deathday Letter it is a unique look at life and how a person might do things differently if they knew when they were going to die. Because in The Deathday Letter you receive notice in the form a crisp, almost blinding white letter that tells you the date and time you will die. A letter that is mysteriously delivered roughly 24 hours before said date/time occurs. The letter doesn’t say how or where and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. So the question is, if you knew you were going to die then how would you live your last day on Earth?

Oliver (Ollie to his friends) receives his letter and he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. Thinking to live his last day as he’s done most days before he heads off to school. But when his best friend, Shane, learns of the letter he brings Ollie on an adventure of a lifetime with the help of Veronica (Ronnie). With Shane and Ronnie’s help Ollie does all sorts of things that he never thought he’d do – like jump off a bridge. Along the way Ollie and his friends really learn what it means to be alive.

I’m torn when it comes to knowing when my last day on earth would be. One hand I think it would be nice to know so that I can put everything in order and say goodbye to my loved ones. But on the other hand, knowing when might not be such a good thing because a person may not truly live the life they were meant to if they had an expiration date. Although I think that is partly why in Hutchinson’s world the letter comes the day before. There is still that sense of unknown. That uncertainly that your time, or in this case, letter, could come at any moment. And yet you still get that little bit of warning that allows you to do things that you might not have normally done.

So why the 3.5 stars you might ask? I think part of my rating comes from the fact there are just some thing about the inner workings of the teenage boy that I did not need to read about. Yes in a theoretical sense I know that teen boys think a lot of sex, but do I need to read all those thoughts? No. This could be part of why I am not a real fan of John Matthew in JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books….but this post isn’t about her books. So moving on.

I think the concept of The Deathday Letters is unique. Its something that I haven’t read it before and I really enjoyed the freshness of it. This story also makes a person think. As a reader you have to ask yourself. If tomorrow morning you woke up and knew it was your last day….what would you do? How would you spend those final moments. And its those sorts of thought provoking questions that tells me this is a book that’s worth recommending, worth reading and most importantly, its worth discussing. Have you read The Deathday Letters? What did you think of it? And how would you spend your last 24hrs? Let me know in the comments!

irishdarkblue

three-half-stars
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