One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers. Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.
When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie's freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she's worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.
Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star
This was one of my favorite books of this year and maybe one of my favorite books ever.
I loved it.
A book set in modern times, I can picture every single thing that happened in this book actually happening in real life. (Which is partly what I love about books but....also something that kind of scared me given the context of this story.) The book actually drew me in so deeply that I spent quite a few days re-living it and thinking about it after finishing it. And it didn't take me long to race through the pages; one of the most compelling stories that I could just not put down.
Maggie reminded me so much of myself in many ways. I am sure that I may have second thoughts and doubt myself should I be tangled up in a story like this, just as she was. I felt equally bad for her and frustrated at times, however, I know that life is hectic and can imagine myself missing something possibly important.
Elise Juska is such a master story teller and this recounting of a terribly tragic and unbearably modern event helped bring home to me just how terrible it really is by humanizing the experience in the most prolific way I can imagine.
If you pick up one book this year that you expect to make you reflect and may even change your thoughts, this may very bell be the one.
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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