Todd Strasser Give a Boy a Gun

ISBN 13: 9780689811128

Give a Boy a Gun

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9780689811128: Give a Boy a Gun

BANG!

Gunshots echo through the gym. Two heavily armed students, Gary and Brendan, hold their classmates hostage at a high school dance. Their targets: the football players and teachers who have tormented them. Their weapons: semiautomatic rifles stolen from a neighbor. Their motive: revenge.

In Give a Boy a Gun, the interweaving voices of students, teachers, friends, and the gunmen themselves re-create the harrowing crisis at Middletown High and the reasons behind Gary and Brendan's rampage. Mirroring the voices on each page are facts about guns and school violence that offer a blistering counterpoint to a tragedy that rings dreadfully true to life.

A stunning work of fiction taken straight from today's headlines, Give a Boy a Gun is a stirring wake-up call to stop the violence and explore the role of guns in the lives of teenagers.

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Review:

High school sophomores Gary Searle and Brendan Lawlor have had enough. Day in and day out, for more than two years, they have been harassed, beaten up, and cursed out by most of the jocks at Middleton High--especially by football player Sam Flach. Armed with guns they've stolen from a neighbor's collection, Gary and Brendan storm a school dance, booby trap all the doors with homemade bombs, and prepare to turn their high school caste system upside down with a violent show of force. When it's all over, Sam Flach is alive (but without any hope of a future football career), Gary has killed himself, and Brendan is in a coma, after being beaten almost to death by other students who managed to disarm him. Could this tragedy have been prevented? Who, if anyone, is to blame?

Consisting of short, related statements from students, parents, school administrators, and even the troubled shooters themselves, Give a Boy a Gun attempts to give a voice to the countless sides of the school violence issue. Is this novel disturbing and at times difficult to read? Yes, of course it is. But it is also an articulate, well-rounded cross section of the many viewpoints on gun control, peer bullying, and the high school social order since the traumatic events that took place in Littleton, Colorado. While Strasser readily acknowledges that there are no easy solutions to the problem of school violence, this powerful book will be a useful tool for parents and teachers alike in exploring this issue and finding some ways of resolving the tragic escalation of teen violence. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

About the Author:

Ever since his 1981 bestseller The Wave, based on a true incident in which a teacher conducted an experiment in peer pressure with his students, Todd Strasser has been concerned with problems of teenage stress and violence. With the recent rash of shootings in schools, he feels compelled once again to address these issues, as well as how the availability of guns can affect the emotional decisions of teens.

Strasser has written many award-winning novels for teenagers, including How I Changed My Life, How I Spent My Last Night on Earth, and Girl Gives Birth to Own Prom Date, which became the feature film Drive Me Crazy. A novelist for more than twenty-five years, Strasser speaks frequently at schools about the craft of writing, and conducts writing workshops for young people. He lives with his family in a suburb of New York City.

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Strasser, Todd
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