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Project X

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  736 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Below the sign welcoming the new eighth-grade class to school is one that promises to leave no child unsuccessful and a handout that offers eight ways of being smart. For Edwin Hanratty, at times as hilarious as he is miserable, this is part of what makes junior high pretty much a relentless nightmare. And so, with Flake, his only friend, he contends with clique upon cliqu ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Knopf (first published 2004)
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S. Wilson
In the aftermath of the Columbine High School Shootings in 1999, countless reporters and commentators repeated similar versions of the same phrase over and over again: "People are wondering how something like this could happen."

Jim Shepard knows.

Project X is one of the few books that has ever honestly attempted to get into the minds of people like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, or the other teenager gunmen who later patterned themselves after the Columbine incident.

Most seem to take comfort in e

i'm really digging Shepard's short stories, so i picked this up from the library. he creates great characters, great scenes, and great dialog, which all make for a quick read. i want to say his writing makes an enjoyable read, but with such serious subject matter, i won't. i couldn't put it down, but just like in the way you can't look away from the car crash.

in the end, maybe it's just weird to read about kids who feel alienated and decide the answer is to blow up the world. there were s
Project-X Book Review.
Kai Lammers

During our fiction unit I read the book ,”project-X.” In the book, the main character is Edwin Hanratty. Edwin is a troubled child, his grades are terrible and he gets in fights with kids every single day. But his friend Flake is even more troubled, he hates everything and everyone. He wishes all the jocks and knuckle heads at his school would just die, and that is exactly what he plans to do. A giant terrorist attack at their school, killing everybody. Revenge i
3.0 out of 5 stars X (Cross) this off your list..., January 16, 2009

This review is from: Project X: A Novel (Paperback)

I read quite a few of the reviews before I started the book. Now, a few hours later, I've finished it and am left wondering -- what was the point of this novel? I mistakenly thought it was YA literature, but have since disavowed that notion. I can't imagine what a teenager or an adult would learn from reading the book. It's purpose definitely wasn't to entertain, or to even del
I loved this. Shepard really set himself a challenge here, not just making the perpetrators of school shootings seem like kids with psychology we are capable of accessing but making violence of such scale seem like a plausible solution to "normal" kids. And he gets junior high just right. He made me remember—unpleasantly. I remember being suddenly forced into new social situations for which I felt unprepared, making my best guess at reasonable behavior, and being laughed at as an idiot. Hell, I ...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Jun 06, 2008 Guillermo Jiménez rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Guillermo by: Rodrigo Fresán
Después de Columbine en 1999, como después de cualquier tragedia que marque el desgaste de la sociedad, los visionarios se dan a la tarea de regresar a «la escena del crimen» a explorar las pruebas que revelen las causas del delito.

Shepard es un probado autor perteneciente a una generación que, cada vez con mayor contundencia, está revisando la tradición de la literatura nortamericana y está intentando (con mejor o peor tino) reelaborarla, reformularla para entregar obras dignas de nuestra época
Beth Yost
I read this with the hopes of finding a great recommendation for my freshmen for a realistic fiction. I was intrigued by the content when reading about it. It's a young adult book told from the point of view of a troubled teen that plans to shoot up his school. Some may find that offensive but I think intense issues are only dealt with when addressed so I was curious as to how Shepard would tell the story. I hoped it would be better and at times it felt a bit like an after-school special, but I ...more
I read this novel in a day because I couldn't put it down! Shepard chronicles a few months in the life of eighth grader Edwin Hanratty who, with his friend Flake, plots a Columbine H.S.-style attack on their school. The writer succeeds in presenting a believable, sympathetic character and the circumstances and adolescent mindset that could lead to violent revenge, despite coming from a caring home. Edwin is an unforgettable character who deserves as wide an audience as Holden Caulfield, but is u ...more
I tried really hard to get into this book, but I just couldn't. The language felt like it was trying too hard to be cool, trying to be something a junior high school student would say rather than something a junior high school would actually say. And for the life of me, I could not sympathize or like the two young boys that were the main characters. They were assholes and I understood why no one liked them. And I definitely didn't care enough about them to read a novel about them. If you want an ...more
Now this may sound like I'm totally heartless, but I could just not connect to the characters. I couldn't feel sorry for them or wish them anything better. To me, this book was pretty boring and unrealistic and by the end I no longer really cared what happened to the two boys. And what is there to say about the ending? Just another shooting.... this one just didn't sink in with me. :(
Project X gives readers a glimpse inside the minds of some very deranged teenagers. This book was an interesting and unorthodox read. Reading level-wise, it is not a difficult book to get through and understand. However, the plot line did not seem extremely well developed, and while the author was evidently attempting to emulate the diction of an angst-filled teenager, the the amount of vulgarity in the book was astounding. Furthermore, the characters were extremely difficult to sympathize with, ...more

I didn't really sympathize with the characters as much as I'd hoped to. Especially that Flake idiot. He basically just reminded me of Rowdy from True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I just wanted someone to beat him up. The ending was anti-climatic, abrupt, and didn't really leave any conclusions. The dialogue was really weird and confusing.

Can I please find a school shooting book that I actually like for a change? Because I'm fascinated by school shootings, but so far all it's been is Eva "I'm
4.5 - half a demerit for the writing style. I usually round up, but I can't give this a perfect score. Project X is so powerful, you don't know how it is going to end until the last couple of pages. Not only that, but it is a testament to the great storytelling that, ultimately, I think I was rooting for Edwin's parents, more than the main character himself. What makes this most poignant is that similar stories are unfolding in enumerable schools everywhere. The scariest horror stories are not s ...more
Jo Anne
High school is hard, we all know that. High school for a fat girl has its own set of problems. There are the cruel names, humiliating gym classes and insulting teachers. Forget fashionable clothes.I would come home from school every day and inform my parents that I was going to "blow up the school."

Thankfully, I'm of a time when all this was just talk. Sadly, that time is over.

In Project X, the story is a familiar one. Kids who are considered different are made to pay for their differences. Ment
Catherine Austen
This may be one of the saddest novels I’ve ever read. It's beautifully written and compassionate - more compassionate than I'd ever want to write about people planning mass murder. The main character comes alive and his story is vividly portrayed (though it seems a few grades older than it is meant to be). I especially liked the touches with the nasty adults. (I think adults are rarely sufficiently blamed for making student life miserable.) I loved it as a novel, as a literary piece. I especiall ...more
With memories of Columbine High School and foreshadowing of Virginia Tech, the author reminds us how hard it is to be an adolescent, particularly a middle schooler. Jim Shepard does a good job of describing the teachers, students, parents and main characters, how they interact, and don't interact with one another. He outlines the cruelty of cliques, the short attention spans of teachers, the easy solutions of school administration and the anxiety of parents with teenagers as the story unfolds. H ...more
This book was an Alex Awards winner in 2005. It was very disturbing and inappropriate on many levels. The book is written in first person, narrated by an 8th grader named Edwin. Edwin is miserably depressed and just can’t seem to fit in. He refuses to join extra curricular activities and his BFF Roddy and him are forever getting into fistfights with other kids. Both Edwin and Roddy don’t feel they are accepted by their peers and seem to not care about anyone, including themselves. This book cont ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

When I was assigned to independently read a book of my own choice, I wanted to find a story that dealt with the theme of alienation, much like the previous two books I have read, “Rule of the Bone” and “The Outsiders.” With the simple Google search of “Novels related to Rule of the Bone,” I was quick to find “Project X” by author Jim Shepard.

As a whole, “Project X” was very well written. There were several key factors which allowed Shepard to be successful, such as his ability to write an engag
William Herschel
I am not sure what I am supposed to feel after reading this. This book chronicles the struggles of two depressed boys and how they eventually bring guns to school and kill their fellow classmates.

Struggles, I am not sure if that is even how you should put it. The whole books is the two trashtalking eachother, and then seemingly randomly develop plans to kill their classmates. Lots of fighting, as well.

I guess I still just do not understand why they shot up the school. I realize they were depress
Andrew Foley
Project X, written by Jim Shepard tells the story of an eighth grade boy and his only friend as they struggle to deal with the social anxieties of junior high. The main character Edwin and his lone companion Flake make a plan to help them put an end to their constant verbal and physical abuse from their peers. The book follows Edwin through his daily activities and meetings with Flake as they begin to plan their revenge on those who as they say, "either don't know us, or don't want to know us." ...more
I've avoided reviewing this book because of the extremely negative discussion I had about it with a colleague, which left an awful taste in my mouth--some admixture of anger, resentment, and bile. Now I can't separate my feelings about the book from that conversation. Maybe I should instead just touch on the conversation?

In my MFA program, in the fiction part at least, there exists what I would call a Boy's Club. The members of said club would vehemently deny that they are a part of it, of cours
Ginger Hallett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Many writers are sheep in wolves clothing, pretending to be bold in their choice of material but actually playing for shock value, and not taking any real risks. No one could possibly say that about Jim Shepherd, a remarkable author and poet who understands that the point of literature is not to shock, but to understand, to know that which one would imagine unknowable. In this vein, Project X stands out as particularly bold, a novel that follows the story of a Columbine like massacre from the pe ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cody J
This book is a book that walks you through the life of two Junior High kids who just need attention. Both of the kids are the typical left out kids. This book will open your eyes and your heart to the kids around you. It's a book that is easy in a sense that it reads fast like a short story but it covers huge issues that kids in todays society deal with everyday. You learn to empathize with the two kids in this book with their day to day beatings and mockings. Between a shocking ending and a boo ...more
This is a short novel--about 200 pages--so don't pick it up if you're looking for a sprawling epic. I usually pass over short books like this, since I feel they're not worth getting invested in, but I'm glad I got out of my comfort zone for this one.

Project X basically tells a Columbine story, through the eyes of an 8th grader whose sole friend may be the only kid bullied more than him. I was really surprised and impressed with how much Edwin actually sounded like a 14 year old boy--this wasn't
School shootings are a literary cliche, which is a sick comment on the relationship between art and society. Rarely, however, does a portrait of disaffected youth turning to violence offer so little redemption and resolution as "Project X." In face, this is one of the most depressing novels I've ever read. The author wrote a novel about the Holocaust that was more cheerful than "Project X." Quite a perverse achievement.
Project X tell the story of two boys, Edwin and Flake, who plot to shoot up their middle school. Through the events of the story, the reader is taken on a tour of their daily lives and experiences that hope to answer the question of "why would they want to do such a thing?"

If you are reading this book to actually have that question answered, prepare to be disappointed. Though they look at many influences in a rather realistic and three dimensional level, the end results of what happens and why i
Bookmarks Magazine

What would possess two boys to kill their classmates? Shepard doesn't provide any straightforward answers, but he expertly imagines the mindset of one miserable and wounded adolescent. It's an eye-opening portrait. The narrator is in turns funny, sympathetic, and rude, but he's not obsessed with video games or music by Marilyn Manson. And he still feels homicidal. Most reviewers compared this short novel to DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little, the 2003 Booker Prize-winner on the same subject. And in

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Shepard was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He received a B.A. at Trinity College in 1978 and an MFA from Brown University in 1980. He currently teaches creative writing and film at Williams College. His wife, Karen Shepard, is also a novelist. They are on the editorial board of the literary magazine The Common, based at Amherst College.[1]

Shepard's work has been published in McSween
More about Jim Shepard...
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