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Walter Dean Myers, author of the Michael L. Printz Award-winning MONSTER and many other acclaimed children's books, has done it again. Told from multiple perspectives in the aftermath of a high school shooting, Myers's latest effort SHOOTER tells the haunting story of three misfit teens.

Through a series of interviews, newspaper clippings and the diary of a troubled teen, the story unfolds. The reader learns about the shooter, Leonard, through in-depth interviews with his best friend Cameron and his ex-girlfriend Carla. Conducted by a school psychologist, an FBI agent, a threat analysis specialist and the town sheriff, the meetings demonstrate the different voices of the characters and reveal the teens' angst and desire to belong to a group.

Leonard assumes the role of leader with his friends. He introduces them to guns and brings them to the Patriots' target shooting club. Cameron and Carla are so needy for companionship that they don't see how disturbed Leonard truly is. They don't know the extent of his inner demons until it is too late. Leonard shows up at school one day with his guns and goes on a shooting spree, killing Brad, a jock and source of constant torment, and then himself.

SHOOTER is a haunting story that uncovers the pain of several high school students. It explores the tragedies of school violence and how the result of bullying can go to the most dramatic extreme. Myers has a gift for expressing the voices of his characters. Through every word, pause and breath in these interviews, we gather understanding. The excerpt from Leonard's diary, or as he calls it, "die-ary," reveals the twisted mind of the force behind the event. Parts of the diary are almost poetic, a technique common in Myers's writing. SHOOTER is not a light read, but it will leave you reeling.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on May 11, 2004

by Walter Dean Myers

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad
  • ISBN-10: 0060295198
  • ISBN-13: 9780060295196