Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president's son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie's dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.
And not a single word from Logan.
Maddie tells herself it's okay. After all, she's the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.
But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.
Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.
This was such a fun book, which is saying something considering it involved attempted kidnapping, betrayal, murder, international espionage and threats against the President and his family. It should be a serious mystery or adventure story, instead Carter has managed to find that perfect balance between serious topics and the reality a of teenagers ability to find levity and sarcasm in every situation. Maddie and Logan find themselves up against an enemy from their past, and have to work to save each other and figure out what the truth really is, all while trying not to let their own past with each other bring them down. My only complaint was Maddie's habit of bedazzling her weapons. I get that she wan't to maintain a tiny semblance of girlishness, but if you've ever actually thrown a knife or ax you know that those rhinestones are totally going to throw off your grip and the aerodynamics. Maddie doesn't strike me as a character who favors style over accuracy. That being said, this was a fast, fun read that's perfect for summer.
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
12.5 minutes is the average length of a school shooting. Run if you can, hide if you need to, fight only if you must to save your life. Barricade doors to keep out the shooter. Every minute you distract the shooter allows other to get to safety. Close the door, stay silent. We will try to keep you safe.
I'm a middle school teacher. School shootings are a painful reality that we face every day. Even if it hasn't happened in our school or in our town yet our students see it on the news, they are afraid and they want to talk about it. As teachers we go through active shooter training, we plan out what we will do if it happens to us. We are painfully realistic about the fact that if it does happen, the likelihood that we all make it out alive is small. That some of us will die, that some of our students will die. We talk about what our job is as educators, that it's not just to impart knowledge, but also to protect the children that come through our doors. We know that if it came down to it we'd do what we had to to save as many of them as we can, because if it was our child in their school, we'd hope that their teachers would do the same to get our kids home safely. These are hard conversations, and they happen over and over again, and they will continue to happen so long as school shootings continue to happen.
Which brings me to this book. I was hesitant to read this book at first, I wasn't sure how this topic was going to be handled. Overall, Nijkamp did a really good job. Told over the course of almost an hour we get the perspectives of multiple players as they fill in the blanks as to who the shooter is and what his motivation is. People are scared and try to run and hide, and there are also those who step forward to try and end the shooting and save other people's lives. The strands of the story slowly come together as the main players react and make their decisions as they face the reality that their school is under attack. In the end no one is left unscathed, but there seems to be a sense that everyone left standing will eventually be okay. Because they'll have to be. In the aftermath of this sort of trauma you find a way to move forward, and Nijkamp has created a story where you know these characters will never be the same, but that they just might be okay someday.
Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad times—his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his father’s deteriorating condition.
Both heartbreaking and funny, Crazy lives up to the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for. As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship.
Admittedly I struggled to get into this book at the start, it was less the story and more the format. The imaginary friends that Jason creates to cope with the stress in his life are presented kind of like a script, injecting thoughts into various scenarios. I've had issues with this format before, so it's not surprising that this was a hard sell at the start for me. However, the story itself was enough to keep me going.
Jason is doing everything he can to keep his life on track, but he's also a scared kid who doesn't know how to keep his father safe, and he's terrified that the mental illness that is plaguing his father might also be something he has. He's afraid to ask for help, afraid to let anyone in, but he also knows that he can't do this all by himself. Enter a support group from school that allows Jason to not only get some help for his father from people who understand that life is far from perfect, but also create some bonds that give him the support he so desperately needs to let go of his imaginary friends and start living life honestly.
This is a heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story about life's road bumps and finding your tribe who will help you get through the hard times.
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