Synopsis from Goodreads.
Paul Vanderman could be at any normal high school where bullies, girls, and annoying teachers are just part of life. But “normal” doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s biggest bully, Roth—a twisted and threatening thug with an evil agenda.
When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but somehow Roth keeps finding reasons for him to stick around. Then one day Roth hands him a knife. And even though Paul is scared, he has never felt so powerful.
This review is going to be short and punch you in the stomach and make you think deeply about your life and morals and….things. What a coinkydink because that’s exactly what this book does!
Actually, ummm OK, no, this review is probably just going to be short.
It’s kind of because of spoilers but mostly it’s because I’m not 100% sure whether I absolutely loved this book or absolutely hated it.
This book is brutal and I love brutal books. Some of my favourite books are horrendously sad and leave you feeling battered and bruised emotionally (occasionally physically….) at the end of it. I like books to put me through the ringer because I figure if a book can make me stare off into the distance for about half an hour after I’ve finished it, it deserves my respect.
But there’s something bothering me about this one. I was about three pages from the end when I was considering not even finishing it. I was so angry because of SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED that made the entire book feel completely pointless. But then I decided it would be ridiculous to not read three pages so I finished it.
And now I’m confused, because reader, it made me think. I know… thinking. What’s that all about?
It made me think about the SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED.
Because those three pages (actually, I could probably narrow it down to a single paragraph) suggested that maybe there isn’t a point to the SOMETH- ok you get it.. Maybe there doesn’t have to be a point to what happened. Maybe the point is there isn’t a point to what happened. Maybe the whole point of this book was that you shouldn’t even look for a point because there is no point….
I didn’t even want to write a review because you know how my reviews are always really informative and clear and concise and…. yeah… I knew I couldn’t do that with this one. Because this book is either incredibly unsatisfactory or simply and absolutely genius. And I know how stupid that sounds because there’s not even a fine line between the two of them.
Or maybe there is.
I JUST DON’T KNOW.
Someone read this book and talk to me about it.
And the award for the World’s Most Unhelpful Review goes to….
Meh, whatever. I will take that award and put it on my shelf next to all my other awards.*
This book was chilling, bleak and had one of the most hopeless endings I’ve ever read. I want to share The Defining Quote with you but it might spoil everything for you… or it might not.
I JUST DON’T KNOW.
What I do know, however, is that Mr McGowan had me in the palm of his hand throughout this book. His writing had me absolutely captivated and is ridiculously brilliant.
I, mean, I left my Easter egg uneaten for this book.
That takes skill.
*I have no awards. That was a vicious lie.