You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.
Normally when I hear there’s a new release from Eli Easton I’d read it straight away. When I heard about this story, I knew I wanted to read it yet hesitated once it was released.
Knowing that real life shootings in schools inspired this book I thought it might be too emotional, harrowing, or damn right angering. It is, at times, all of those things wrapped up in an exceptionally well-written story. I struggled to read some parts of this book and found myself often stopping to stare off into space so I can only imagine how difficult this story was to write.
The tragic, pointless loss of life – lives not yet even lived – and what happened to Brian and Landon was heartbreaking, but their reactions are inspiring.
“Jake is dead, and I found you. It’s not fair.”
“That’s the way it works though, isn’t it?” I said, flying by pure instinct. “When something awful happens there has to be a rebound, a silver lining, some good that comes out of it. Otherwise the whole human race would just give up in despair.”
The story does focus on how Landon and Brian each deal with the aftermath in their own way, yet the connection they forged in the face of death helps them through it all and find a way to be their true selves together.
The ending of the story was satisfying if not a little hard to believe. I’m a huge fan of Eli’s writing and would happily recommend this and any of her books if you haven’t tried one yet.