Tuesday, 1 October 2019


Title: #NotReadyToDie
Author: Cate Carlyle
Genre: Mystery, Thrillers, Teens & YA
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Release Date: 1st October 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Ginny's life suddenly comes to a screeching halt one fateful Monday when a shooter shows up at Southwestern High School during first period. In lockdown with both the homeroom sub and her secret crush Owen badly wounded, Ginny finds herself teamed up with Kayla, one of the "barbies." Together, they must try to keep their classmates alive amid terror and pain. As the chaos continues, Ginny is plagued with questions. Has she judged Kayla too harshly? Will she ever have the chance to ask Own to prom? Will the fight she had with her mom before school been their last interaction ever? With the uncertainty of everyone making it out alive growing with every minute, there's only one thing Ginny knows for sure: no one is making it out unchanged.


I guess with shootings happening in the US and being reported on our TV news, and reading that all US schools have special drills in place for this type of eventuality made me curious. We have also had school shootings in the UK, so I was interested in reading this book. I think the book will really stand out on a book store shelf as it is bright orange and then the title being in the form of a hashtag will in my opinion make it even more appealing to teens.

The story begins with the main character Gin reading some graffiti that is written on the underside of her desk, “Jarrold H. is a weiner 1981.”
Gin wonders who Jarrold was, why someone thought he was a wiener. Was he still considered a wiener, or did he outgrow it? Did Jarrold survive the bullying okay and grow up, get a decent job, wife and family? Next Gin starts to ponder the person who wrote it. It had to be a boy as a girl’s would have wrote the graffiti in a toilet cubicle. A girl wouldn’t get under a desk to write graffiti!
Gin’s mind wanders to what the equivalent of bullying by graffiti was nowadays. It would be something written or an incriminating photo online, Facebook or Instagram. The bullying would travel quicker these days with social media and it could be done anonymously too.

The book then begins to address why Gin is laid on the floor under her desk. The day had started out like any other, the students were taking their seats in homeroom, preparing for the arrival of Miss Jones, their temporary substitute teacher. Their usual teacher was off on maternity leave. Shots are heard and then Gin see’s Miss Jones at the door ushering Owen Sanders into the room and under his desk.

The book then tells the story of the young teens from Gin’s point of view. Gin thinks back to that morning how her and her mum had words. Gin is scared she won’t see her mum again. What if those sharp words are the last word’s she ever gets chance to say to her mum.
The book flashes back in Gin’s memories of her Uncle’s death, then that of her father. Gin attempts to text her mum, as she knows her mum will be so upset and anxious as they only have each other now. The shooting at the school is all over the news sites and social media.

Gin also interacts with the other students. She has a secret crush on Owen Sanders and is hoping with perhaps a little encouragement from her he may even ask her to Prom. They are already really good friends, so it is a possibility. That is presuming they all get out of this classroom alive!

Unlikely friendships are made, such as Gin and one of the cheer squad that she considers, mentally calls and occasionally verbally slips and calls her “barbie”. They share secrets with each other and then by checking on the other students individually, they learn other secrets about those students. Gin hands her phone over to one of the cheer squad that is having panic attacks. Between them they do their best to attend injuries, cope with scared jocks and nerds as if it is something, they do everday of the week.

The fact the shooter keeps coming back to their classroom to try to get into it to shoot them all adds to their scary situation. They can hear the shooter walking and shooting in the school hallway and in the cafeteria and in the surrounding classrooms.

I did enjoy reading the book and at points I seriously didn’t want to put it down! Though there were occasions within the book I felt I wanted more. Maybe a few chapters from the points of view of classmates trapped within other rooms or even the parents and loved ones of the students outside the school, or the SWAT team sent to take care of the shooter.

My immediate thoughts upon the book finishing was a kind of shock. I was a bit like what? That’s it? I was scrolling on wanting more.

To finally sum up this book was made up of part text, news bulletins and then Ginny & school friends. I found it an interesting read....not sure exactly what I had expected.....I just felt I wanted more....maybe about who the shooter really was and why he did what he did. As well as who the 12 dead were....not sure what was missing I wanted a bit more. Having said that the book was Gin’s story of what she felt that day, how she interacted with the other students along with the memories from her past that kept her calm under extreme pressure.

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