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By Matthew Quick
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Curriculum Subject: Guidance/Health: Death, Guidance/Health: Abuse, Family Life: School
Grades: 10 – 17
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart–obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made–and the light in us all that never goes out.
“Books like Quick’s are necessary…We should be grateful for a book that gets kids, and the leaders they’ll become, thinking about the problem now.” —The New York Times
★ “Quick’s use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard’s tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma.” —School Library Journal
★ “Quick’s attentiveness to these few key relationships and encounters gives the story its strength and razorlike focus…Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await.” —Publishers Weekly
“Over the course of one intense day (with flashbacks), Leonard’s existential crisis is delineated through an engaging first-person narrative supplemented with footnotes and letters from the future that urge Leonard to believe in a “life beyond the übermorons” at school. Complicated characters and ideas remain complicated, with no facile resolutions, in this memorable story.”—The Horn Book
“The novel presents a host of compelling, well-drawn, realistic characters-all of whom want Leonard to make it through the day safe and sound.”—Kirkus
“Quick is most interested in Leonard’s psychology, which is simultaneously clear and splintered, and his voice, which is filled with brash humor, self-loathing, and bucket loads of refreshingly messy contradictions, many communicated through Leonard’s footnotes to his own story. It may sound bleak, but it is, in fact, quite brave, and Leonard’s interspersed fictional notes to himself from 2032 add a unique flavor of hope.” –Booklist