School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 8 Up-In her signature dramatic style, McDaniel explores the grief, anger, and upheaval caused by a school bombing. Complete with pep rallies and teen romances, Edison High School is ordinary and suburban. But when a bomb explodes just before morning classes start, students find their lives turning upside down. Through the perspectives of teens impacted by the blast, readers will quickly empathize with their confusion, despair, and determination. Characters represent a mix of the school's population, including a popular cheerleader, the student-council president, a goth girl, and an outsider. While characterizations can be broad, none of them slips into stereotypes. The characters speak and act in a believable manner save for some instances-e.g., one teen refers to his "Web avatar," which seems a bit dated. The shocking fate of two characters involved in a romantic relationship is revealed dramatically. The depiction of the explosion, panic, and glee felt by the main perpetrator while witnessing the explosion from a safe distance are realistically detailed. However, the exposure of the true perpetrators is a bit rushed and anticlimactic. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the novel's brevity, romance, and ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Morgan is a popular cheerleader who is dating jealous Trent, and Roth is a goth who doesn't realize that his only friend (and occasional hookup), Liza, has feelings for him. The four teens are forever changed when someone detonates a bomb in the middle of the school, killing and maiming many of their classmates. McDaniel's story works best when she sticks close to her familiar territory teens dealing with devastating illness or injury. She is less successful at intrigue, and the weak ending includes a deus ex machina that pulls in random characters to take the blame. A romance between Morgan and Roth is roughly sketched out, but they are likable characters who readers will enjoy, and the idea that high-school romance may still be true love even if it doesn't last forever is refreshing. An eye-catching cover and McDaniel's name should draw plenty of romance readers.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2010 Booklist