Every Moment After

HMH. Apr. 2019. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328547279.
Gr 7-10–Cole and Matt are two of the few survivors of a classroom shooting in first grade. Their story, told in alternating chapters, begins as they are setting up for graduation and placing 12 empty chairs in memory of those who were lost. Matt comes from a wealthy family and after graduation will be attending a university on a baseball scholarship. He lives with the guilt of being absent on that one dreadful day because he was home learning how to manage his new diagnosis of diabetes, and he wonders if he would have survived if he had been at school. As a result, he pushes the limits of his glucose levels. Cole was the poster child for the media frenzy because of an infamous photograph of him being carried out of school by a police officer. In addition to his survivor guilt, Cole is from a poor family that’s trying to recover from recently losing his dad to cancer. Cole is also the friend who often saves Matt from his health-threatening situations by either calling paramedics or Matt’s overbearing mother. The boys narrate different perspectives on the same incident and revisit all of the anniversaries, memorials, and interactions with survivors from that day. This novel is about moving forward and living in spite of one’s past trauma.
VERDICT Recommended for readers of Joelle Charbonneau’s Time Bomb, Shaun David Hutchinson’s Violent Ends, and Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends.

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