Review of ‘Silent Alarm’ by Jennifer Banash

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What it’s about: Alys’s whole world was comprised of the history project that was due, her upcoming violin audition, being held tightly in the arms of her boyfriend, Ben, and laughing with her best friend, Delilah. At least it was—until she found herself on the wrong end of a shotgun in the school library. Her suburban high school had become one of those places you hear about on the news—a place where some disaffected youth decided to end it all and take as many of his teachers and classmates with him as he could. Except, in this story, that youth was Alys’s own brother, Luke. He killed fifteen others and himself, but spared her—though she’ll never know why.

Alys’s downward spiral begins instantly, and there seems to be no bottom. A heartbreaking and beautifully told story. (Copied from Goodreads.)

Okay so this book really rocked me, which is why it’s taken so long to come up with the right words for this post. I got hit so hard in the feels that I was reeling for days, and no I’m not over exaggerating. Jennifer not only told a story, but she made me feel like I was there, like I experienced the shooting right along with Alys. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have your brother commit such an act, let alone being the survivor left to deal with the fallout. I guess no one really understands something like that unless they’ve lived through it and that is something that most people don’t get to say they survived.

The aftermath of the shooting is almost enough to make anyone go crazy, but the way Alys handles it is beautiful. She doesn’t lash out, she doesn’t cut people off, she just…tries to be. She tries to understand why Luke would, or could, do what he did. She tries to keep her family together. She tries to rekindle her relationships with her friends and Ben. She tries to keep her life together even when it was blown apart right in front of her, literally. Even though everything is falling apart, Alys does her best to deal with it and come to terms with what’s happened. She showed me what it’s like to be brave and strong in the face of crisis.

I absolutely loved the way Jennifer wasn’t afraid to go down that road with her story. She wasn’t afraid to hit on the sensitive subject of school shootings, and she rocked it. 100%. I really don’t have anything negative to say because this was just so beautifully written. I think this book is for anyone who is going through something hard, wants a “real life” type of story, or someone who just wants a really well written book. Mature audiences due to the content and graphic details.

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