In this stellar cooperative collection of interconnected short stories, we glimpse the before, during, and after of a group of students. Eventually, one of them opens fire at a high school pep rally, but there's really much more than just that one moment.
Each of the 17 stories was written by a different YA author - lending different styles, unique viewpoints, and a breadth of perspective on the scene. Some of the stories are short, others much longer, and some are further divided into chapters.
We see the anorexic cheerleader's perspective on her insatiable hungers: for perfection, for love, and for popularity. The sad story of a little girl's birthday present, ruined almost immediately. There's a slightly strange new girl at school with a big secret, the band geek whose only hope is to follow the treble clef doodled on a pair of Converse All-Stars, and the soccer player who isn't going to prom anymore. There's even one chapter (a bit strangely) told from the perspective of the gun.
I've really come to love interconnected short stories - I think the multi-faceted approach is always enlightening, and especially in the case of a teenage tragedy, there's always way more to the story than the headlines allow.