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Author: Trish Doller

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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Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, New Adult, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury on 24 September 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 353
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Violent Ends

 

Place(s) Traveled to: Tarpon Springs, Florida

First Line(s): Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again.

Ever pick up a book and find that when you hit the final page that you are a bit shocked that the world has continued on without your notice? Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller is one of those books for me. This story is beautiful and raw and really tugs at the heart strings like only the rare gem of a book can do. This is a book that I’ve read in many forms and each time I just fell more and more in love with the story. It made my heart ache in all the right ways and I just hated for the story to end.

Callie is such an amazing and heart breaking character who has gone through more in her short life than anyone should have to deal with in a lifetime. She was taken as a child from her father and raised by a very unstable mother. When she is reunited with the father she barely remembers what she knows is in conflict with what is. Its also a difficult adjustment from living the life of a gypsy with no stability to one filled with a family and siblings that she never even knew she had. She’s a girl who has always been looking for a permanent place and she’s about to meet a boy who has only dreamed of leaving.

Can you smell the tension?

Not only that but Callie isn’t exactly one to trust easily and she is a bit stand offish but when you learn of her history you can’t imagine her being any other way. As with Doller’s debut, Something Like Normal, this book is very much a character and issue driven book. Its compelling and impossible to put down and makes you want to just reach inside its pages and hug every single character. There are times when the story will bring tears to your eyes but then with the turn of the page you might be smiling as Callie makes a snarky comment.

Not only are the main characters just filled with such amazing things but the secondary really flesh out this story. From Callie’s Dad and Stepmother to her cousin Kat (who I’d love to see get a story of her own) they just really add to the wonderfulness of this story. Everything about this world and its characters are just so real and vibrant that there are time when I almost expect to bump into Callie and Alex on the street….and I don’t even live in Florida.

This is a book that I can read over and over again and it loses nothing from that first time read. The town and the characters just become more and more real with each reading and I just fall more and more in love with them. I hated for this story to end and when I finished it I went back and flipped through all of my favorite parts. Where the Stars Still Shine is among one of my favorite reads and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I thought that Something Like Normal was an amazing read but I was wrong because Where the Stars Still Shine surpasses it. If Trish Doller wasn’t on your reading list before then you really want to fix that sooner rather than later.

five-stars
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