Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down

Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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One of Refinery29's Best Reads for October

One of Plougshares "Most Necessary Books for the End of 2016"

The lives of four teenagers are capsized by a shocking school shooting and its aftermath in this powerful debut novel, a coming-of-age story with the haunting power of Station Eleven and the bittersweet poignancy of Everything I Never Told You.

As members of the yearbook committee, Nick, Zola, Matt, and Christina are eager to capture all the memorable moments of their junior year at Lewis and Clark High School--the plays and football games, dances and fund-drives, teachers and classes that are the epicenter of their teenage lives. But how do you document a horrific tragedy--a deadly school shooting by a classmate?

Struggling to comprehend this cataclysmic event--and propelled by a sense of responsibility to the town, their parents, and their school--these four "lucky" survivors vow to honor the memories of those lost, and also, the memories forgotten in the shadow of violence. But the shooting is only the first inexplicable trauma to rock their small suburban St. Louis town. A series of mysterious house fires have hit the families of the victims one by one, pushing the grieving town to the edge.

Nick, the son of the lead detective investigating the events, plunges into the case on his own, scouring the Internet to uncover what could cause a fire with no evident starting point. As their friend pulls farther away, Matt and Christina battle to save damaged relationships, while Zola fights to keep herself together.

A story of grief, community, and family, of the search for understanding and normalcy in the wake of devastating loss, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down explores profound questions about resiliency, memory, and recovery that brilliantly illuminate the deepest recesses of the human heart.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2016.
ISBN: 9780062429131
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Dec 03, 2018

I had read a short story collection by this author that I loved and was really looking forward to reading this novel...until I found out it was about a school shooting. I had no appetite for that at all and decided not to bother with it until I recently saw a raving review for it on YouTube. I thought I would just pick it up and try a few chapters. That was a stroke of luck for me because I thought it was a powerful story and was unlike anything I have read before. It does begin with a school shooting but it is really more about the effects of trauma on the individual and society. The story centers around 4 friends who are all in different places in the school when the attack happens and therefore all have different experiences ranging in severity. I didn't find the chapter where the shooting took place to be sensationalized at all, which is what I was originally turned off by. Instead, it was chilling and surreal. The author did an amazing job of taking a particular moment in time and breaking it down into slow motion. The smell of blood, the sight of a worn spine on a book, the feeling of a heart hammering in your chest, all instantly imprinting on a young girls mind in fine detail as violence and chaos reigns all around her. I couldn't pull my face out of that part of the book. There is a lot of story after that part which deals with the aftermath and adds another story line in the way of a series of fires. I've seen many people refer to this as YA but I would have to disagree. The writing style and plot structure is not what you would expect from most YA books. I think it would take a teen with very mature reading tastes to enjoy this. However it was a great read for me and one of the best books I have ever read about grief.

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