Caroline Pignat's novel follows the events surrounding a school shooting through the eyes of five students, using prose, verse, text messages and images.

Caroline Pignat

A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them — could anything be worse?

Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals and homework assignments, each student reveals pieces of their true story as they wait for the drill to end. But this modern-day Breakfast Club takes a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school!

Suddenly, the bathroom doesn't seem so safe anymore. Especially when they learn that one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized. (PRH Canada Young Readers)

From the book

"He's just pulling a prank. Or maybe he had a test and he didn't want to write it." 

Or maybe he's a psychopath on a rampage. I don't say that one out loud. 

Izzy pouts. "Well, even if we knew anything about this guy — which we don't — what good would it do?" 

"Unless. . ." I say, as the idea clicks on like a bare bulb, "unless you know his fatal flaw." 


I look up to see all of them staring at me in surprise. "What?" I shift, suddenly uncomfortable. "I read Hamlet in Dunne's class. And I didn't even read the play, okay? It was the graphic novel or whatever." I cross my arms. 

Yeah. I listen in class sometimes. So what? I've skipped her class more times than I've sat through it. 

Alice grins at me and I feel my scowl coming on. 

"No," she says, "you're on to something." 

I realize she's not laughing at me. I see it in her eyes. Something I haven't seen from anyone in a long time. Something I thought I'd never see again. 


She looks back at the floor and taps her lip, deep in thought. "Every tragic hero does have a fatal flaw. A trait that brings him down." 

"Ya," Izzy cuts in. "How about crazy? Lunatic? Demented? Oh, what does it matter anyway?" Izzy moans in her melodramatic way. We don't even know who he is." 

They're both right. It is a hero's journey. And it is real life. But I hope to God I'm wrong. Because I learned something else in Dunne's class, something I am not about to share. 

In a Shakespearean tragedy — everyone dies.

From Shooter by Caroline Pignat ©2016. Published by Razorbill Canada.

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Other books by Caroline Pignat