Surviving was just the beginning.
Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town’s grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to?
As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.
The premise of this book really intrigued me because it takes place many years after a tragedy happens, following two of the survivors who lost a friend in a school shooting. There’s even a twist to it – one of them was actually home sick the day it happened and he wonders that if he’d been at school that day if he would’ve survived.
I didn’t have trouble getting into the book at first, but after a while it just kind of went flat. I kept feeling like I should’ve DNF’d the book, but I had gotten through 63% of it and figured, ‘what the hell?’ and pressed on. I wish I hadn’t. I was just happy to finish the book and that it’s over.
The only thing I liked about the book was one of the main characters – Matt. He was more complex as a character and seemed more realistic, along with his ongoing guilt of not having been at school on that fateful day all those years ago. You can see how it still affects him and I felt for him.
However, other than that aspect of the book, I just didn’t care for it. It lacked something, I just can’t put my finger on what.
It’s just disappointing because I really did want to like this one.
Rating: 2/5 stars