Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Shooter

Publish March 10, 2016

Winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for her critically acclaimed free verse novel, The Gospel Truth, Caroline Pignat returns with Shooter, a timely drama about the making of a massacre. At 17, Hogan is a deadbeat ex-football player who has been self-destructing ever since the death of his older brother two years ago. When his high school goes into a lockdown drill, Hogan – sneaking a cigarette in the boy’s washroom – is joined by Alice, a shy intellectual, and Isabelle, the school’s most popular over-achiever. Eventually, they are joined by Xander, an awkward loner, and Alice’s autistic brother, Noah. As the five teens wait for the drill to end, their conversation becomes increasingly intense, and personal secrets are slowly revealed. When they realize that the lockdown is not a drill, the five unlikely heroes – each a misfit in their own way – must race to decipher the shooter’s vengeful plan, shedding their self-destructive habits in order to save the school. Pignat continues to defy narrative boundaries in Shooter, alternating between journal entries, text messages, poems, pictographs, and newspaper articles. Her characters are impeccably voiced, and readers will move seamlessly from judgment to empathy, laughing out loud, only to turn the page and shed a tear. Shooter unflinchingly explores the many experiences of high school, the nuances and shortcomings of modern communication, and the loneliness that brews when communication fails. With gut-wrenching locked-room suspense, Shooter is a frightening, yet hopeful snippet of high school life in the 21st century.


Caroline Pignat
Razorbill Canada, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-0-143-187-578

Karen Doerksen
Karen Doerksen Karen Doerksen lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta with her husband and four children. She works for the Edmonton Public Library, and holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta.  

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