I received a copy from Netgalley.
This was something I got from Netgalley with one of those read it now for the first 500 members for a limited time only things. I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. It was certainly very fast paced, once I got past the first 20% I finished the whole thing in pretty much a couple of hours. Couldn't put it down.
Given the subject, I can not even begin to fathom being trapped in such a terrifying situation, and by the end of the novel there was certainly an emotional impact. But something was missing and I can't quite put my fingers on what. I think for me, it was the characters. There were a LOT of characters, lots of different view points and even short interludes of characters on their social media - a blogger and someone's Twitter feed. But something was still missing.
There were only two or three characters that particularly had any impact - Tomas and Claire who were both outside the auditorium when the incident happened and Matt, Claire's brother one of the trapped students. My main concern was really for all the people trapped in the auditorium and how awful those who weren't trapped felt being able to do very little to help.
I was not that invested in the people who felt like the main focus, Autumn and Sylvia. Autumn came across as almost selfish through most of it, at least for this reader. Her main focus was dancing, she wanted out of her small town and focused on nothing but her dancing as her ticket of her situation. Understandable, given her sad family history, but I just didn't like her as a character.
Sylvia had a bit more to her, but it was all kind of vague and all over the place. Torn between her feelings for Autumn, her problems with Tyler, and her family drama there was a lot going on for her. Though in such a short space of time and the focus being on the shooting, and survival and with so many other character's POVs added, I can understand why there wasn't a lot of deep character background.
The villain of the piece, Tyler was so flat and eye roll inducing it was almost laughable in a horrible way it was so over dramatic.
One thing I will applaud - diverse characters, and Audrey and Sylvia were in a relationship which was a big part of the plot. Sylvia came from a large Spanish family though she kept breaking into random Spanish and it got very frustrating and jarring to the narrative. I get that its probably very realistic in terms of how you imagine someone in Sylvia's situation would act, but as a reader who speaks no Spanish, even if I can get the gist of what was being said, it was a little annoying especially since there was no translation.
The points of view kept changing to those trapped in the auditorium with the shooter and those outside and how terrified they were for their friends inside. Despite the somewhat flat characters, I did find a lot of the narrative to be very engaging and certainly by the end of the book there was a great deal of heart breaking emotional trauma. I didn't love the book, I think my main issue was too many characters and while I like multi POVs, it was all a bit overwhelming. Though it was certainly an engaging and emotional read.