Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
is a most unusual book, in which readers see a school day that ends in a double tragedy three times through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Justin, who is prompted by voices in his head - but his interpretation of events and reactions to them change subtly each time. What is going on?
he front cover shows the dissection of a rabbit, something that actually happens during that day in the high school biology class - since most students are afraid to touch the corpse, Justin volunteers to make the first cuts. In a similar fashion, he dissects his own emotions for us, while undergoing a horrendous day at school over and over again - a day filled with hateful looks, nasty comments, bullying, and hurtful encounters with his old girlfriend Megan.
ut this pivotal day is not the worst in Justin's life. Exactly a year before the events in
, his younger brother, twelve-year-old Mark accidentally shot himself with his father's gun, in his elder brother's presence, while Justin was in charge. After this tragedy, Justin morphed from one of the in-crowd at high school - smart, popular and a star athlete - to a bitter, friendless outsider, who's continually in trouble for getting into fights with his previous best friend Billy.
n drama class on this day we replay again and again, their dynamic young teacher talks about '
the difference between truth and illusion.
' Which, if any, of Justin's perceptions reflect truth? Read to the end of
to find out. It's an elegant, yet gut-wrenching tale that left me in tears. Highly recommended.
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