I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as well as a problem that nobody else seems to see Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he's managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace's secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?"
I really, really wanted to love this one. I thought that a book about bullies and a shooting would pack a lot of emotional punches, but it just fell flat. The book starts with an interview with Sam after the shooting. There was a lot of tension during those scenes, especially because I had no idea who shot whom. It goes back and forth between the interview and the year prior to the shooting. Sam is a good kid with a promising career in sports, but he has to deal with being bullied by Ace Quinn. The scenes between Ace and Sam sometimes felt overdramatic and I had a hard time believing that NO ONE noticed how much of a jerk Ace was being. I also kept wondering why Sam didn't tell any other adult. It bugged me that he didn't even tell his friends the extent of it, so his friends just thought he was being jealouserk Ace was being. I also kept wondering why Sam didn't tell any other adult. It bugged me that he didn't even tell his friends the extent of it, so his friends just thought he was being jealous. Sam was seeing a girl that he had known forever, but I did not like her. She led Sam on, she wouldn't let him call her his girlfriend, she disappeared for days and ignored him . . . she was annoying and I hated that Sam was so obsessed with her. She was really one dimensional too because she was supposedly friends with Sam, but I didn't see it. There was nothing to make her stand out. As for the boys, it got to the point where I honestly didn't know who I was supposed to hate. I thought I knew who the shooter was, but there was a bit of a twist with it. I didn't really like the ending. I thought things ended a bit too neatly and it seemed like the victim was blamed a bit. I don't really understand how or why because it was only briefly mentioned in the epilogue type chapter. This book just fell flat for me.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.