In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was - that I couldn't stick around - and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
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.
"[T]he novel presents a host of compelling, well-drawn, realistic characters - all of whom want Leonard to make it through the day safe and sound. An artful, hopeful exploration of a teen boy in intense need. 14 & up." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starred Review. Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await." - Publishers Weekly
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Rated of 5
Every Word Takes a Measured Step
Wow! This was a ride. Matthew Quick uses an unusual writing form which includes footnotes. Now I liked the content found in the footnotes but found that it disturbed the flow of my reading. I overcame the urge to ignore the footnotes, but found it enhanced the meaning of the story by reading them. Others may find this too much of a challenge and skip the footnotes altogether, missing some of the depth of the story. This book brought me to tears, made me curse the author for taking me places I never wanted to go and cringing at scenes that were disturbing. Following Leonard as he follows up on his plans for his 18th birthday I found the author grabbing and pulling me along through twists and turns. The writing is tight with every word having a purpose. This is a well written book with characters you can't forget.
Matthew Quick is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Academy Award-winning film, and the young adult novels Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. He is married to the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette.
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