FICTION

Bang

304p. Little, Brown. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316315500; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316315531. POP
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 10 Up—When Sebastian Cody was four years old, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun. A decade later, in the summer before his sophomore year in high school, he can no longer endure the guilt, everyone's knowing and nervous stares, and the constant feeling that he doesn't deserve to be alive. Sebastian decides to take his own life at the end of the summer in the same way that he took his sister's. Knowing it will all be over soon is a comforting, relaxing thought—until he meets Aneesa, a Muslim girl who has moved in down the street. Aneesa is funny and smart, and, most important, she knows nothing about Sebastian and his horrible past. Together they create a YouTube channel about making pizza, and as they spend more and more time together, Sebastian begins to feel as if there is something left to live for. However, when kids from school start viewing the channel, they recognize Sebastian and leave comments about his sister's death and make crude Islamophobic jokes about Aneesa. A wedge is driven between the two friends, and Sebastian is once again headed toward a destructive end. Lyga (I Hunt Killers) tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic. With a number of sensitive issues addressed, along with frequent graphic language, this book may be best for a mature audience, who will fully appreciate the unwavering and stark realism.
VERDICT A must-have for all libraries serving teens.

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