Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: 9th +
Cameron is a mild mannered kid with a bit of a tough home life. He isn’t popular at school and doesn’t really seem to care about anything at all. Then he meets Leonard. He and Leonard are a bit of the same. Soon, though, Cameron realizes Leonard is dangerous and then we are told the story from multiple perspectives after the “incident”.
Like with my other choice book, peer pressure is very big in this book. Cameron is lead by Leonard and his crazy ideas because he wants to be a supportive friend and not look like an idiot in the eyes of Leonard.
Another theme is inadequacy. Cameron feels inadequate to his father who was a big sports star and thinks that his son is sad little loser. Meanwhile his mother measures every single things by how much it costs.
Leonard also has the same situation at home. His father was a soldier and he thinks he is big and tough and that whatever he says goes. Leonard feels weak and in his journal he never refers to him as his father but simply as “HIM” or “HE”.
I think it is safe to say that we have all been bullied at one point or another in our life. We may even sometimes ponder what we think should happen to that bully. The difference is that we don’t usually carry out that fantasy. Leonard does. He actually focuses on one person in particular. The others are just something extra.
I thought this was a good book. There are a lot of similarities to the Columbine shootings. The shooting in the book takes place only a couple of days apart from when the Columbine shootings did. The kids practice shooting and purchasing automatic weaponry. Both are bullied and embarrassed by others at school. This book just goes to show that after all of the bullying in schools, its rather surprising that these tragedies don’t happen more often.
The parts of Leonard’s journal were very effective in giving us insight into his crazy, twisted mind.
This reviewer makes a good point when they say “You can really get a visual of what is happening and it seems like you are actually in the book.” This is very true. Walter Dean Myers gives you the feeling that you are actually sitting there watching Leonard plan how he is going to shoot up the school and get the people on his “list”.