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Give a Boy a Gun

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,494 ratings  ·  569 reviews
For as long as they can remember, Brendan and Gary have been mercilessly teased and harassed by the jocks who rule Middletown High. But not anymore. Stealing a small arsenal of guns from a neighbor, they take their classmates hostage at a school dance. In the panic of this desperate situation, it soon becomes clear that only one thing matters to Brendan and Gary: revenge.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Simon Pulse (first published September 1st 2000)
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Michael Burhans No, but not because of the subject matter, there are excellent books on the same subject I have recommended to my teens. I'd tell them to pass on this…moreNo, but not because of the subject matter, there are excellent books on the same subject I have recommended to my teens. I'd tell them to pass on this because it is poor quality. An anti-gun screed written for a political objective, not a good story. Read HATE LIST, THE QUAD, 19 MINUTES or one of the other excellent books on the same subject matter instead.(less)
Hate List by Jennifer BrownNineteen Minutes by Jodi PicoultWe Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel ShriverGive a Boy a Gun by Todd StrasserRage by Richard Bachman
School Shooting Fiction
4th out of 50 books — 195 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsLooking for Alaska by John GreenThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Best Young Adult Realistic Novels
173rd out of 1,552 books — 9,360 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

Every person in the world should read this book. That being said, I'll admit right off that I hate guns. Absolutely abhor them. I'm the mother who refuses to let her children play with toy guns, even water pistols. Why? Why, indeed. Why let your children shoot things at each other--whether it be water, rubber darts, BBs, or paint balls--if you don't want them to shoot bullets at each other? After all, that's what guns are for. To shoot bullets. Bullets that are
this was a short book but it was also a really interesting format with the quotes from people who knew the students talking about events in their lives and their relations to them. it gave a nice insight that was really fun to read.
Ashley dillon
Give a boy a gun is prolly one of my favorite books now. I loved the way it was written. Different quotes and thoughts from ppl who actually knew Gary and Brendan. Idk but during the whole book i was sitten there thinking to myself, "what do they do? how does it end?" i could not put the book down. I even cried a few times. Its horrible that they had gotten to that all time low in their life, where they felt that they had no other choice but to do what they did in order to solve everything. i me ...more
I wanted to give this book less than 3 stars. For me, 3 is kind of the cut-off between pretty good and not great. In the end, I felt the content was important enough to warrant three stars.

This book addresses school violence, particularly involving guns. The book is published in 2000 and was perhaps written out of reaction to the Columbine shootings. Still, since school violence--and particularly bullying, as the book discusses--is still prevalent, I don't think it is dated. The story is told fr
Lisa Litberg
This was a good, quick, albeit depressing read. A fictionalized account of a school shooting in middle American, the book is told through anecdotes from a wide variety of characters, including the shooters friends, enemies, and various classmates, teachers, parents, etc. Interspersed throughout the book are statistics about gun violence. The author has definate ideas, but no firm solutions, about the problem of school shootings. It is a provocative look at a disturbing and pertinent subject. I'm ...more
Tyler Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

,,Es gibt ein Sprichwort: Worte sind nur halb so verletzend wie Schläge.Völliger Blödsinn -
Der Schmerz der Schläge verschwindet mit der Zeit , doch Worte bleiben für immer im Gedächtnis und verletzen immer und immer wieder."

So bewegend und packend - WoW.

Emotionaler als John Green und " Sieben Minuten nach Mitternacht".
Das Buch spricht mir aus der Seele und hat mich extrem gefesselt.
Es ist ein grandioser Mix aus Gesellschaftskritik und Spannung.

Eines der besten Bücher ü
Elie Sassine
Give a Boy a Gun is about two high school students who have been bullied throughout their life and decide to take a stand against it. They hold up their high school dance and hold all the kids hostage. Gary ends up killing himself and Brendan is attacked by a group of people that got their hands loose. This story talks about the effects of bullying and the gun culture in America.

"Here's why. You made my friggin' life miserable"(17). Brendan was bullied throughout his whole life and it made him
A true story of what happened at Middleton school. NOT fiction.

Two boys 3 years of high-school together they are haunted, laughed at, tormented and bullied to the point where they both SNAP. In this book it's not because they are gay, they aren't. Because they are to those bullies: lower life forms on the food chain.

The book contains the following contents:

- Final letters of both boys prior to their vengeful mission to make them all pay. The bullies on the football team and the school teachers
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was really interesting. It was about a group of friends that always got bullied. Two of them (Gary and Brendan) get really fed up with it and make a revenge plan. In the town that the book takes place in the football players are worshiped in the town. If your not on the football team or the cheer leading squad your an outcast. If you dress differently from everyone or you don't cheer for the team your also an outcast. Gary and Brendan both hate there life and school. They'r ...more
Give A Boy A Gun is a must read for everyone. The title for one, is perfect. This book is trying to get people to listen to kids being bullied, while giving some sourced quotes and facts about why kids plan a school shooting, and the somewhat lack of control of handguns and semiautomatics. Give a Boy a Gun is getting the readers to understand how cruel kids can be to one another and how it was actually tolerated for quite some time before any one takes any disciplinary actions, or in this case, ...more
Corey Svrcina
"Give a Boy a Gun," by Todd Strasser goes in depth and into police reports for a High School Shooting in a city called Middletown. The story uncover the lives and plans of Gary Seale and Brendan Lawson in order to exact revenge onto those who didn't treat them well. Strasser's book opens up the true horror in High School bullying.

"I will kill every friggin' one of them. It's gonna be Columbine all over again, only better" (Strasser 71).
This was an email sent from Brendan to Gary. The quote unco
this book has some pretty harsh things in it. it has lots of conflict and is about bullying. its about jocks picking on 2 kids for years. physically and verbally. which cause both of them to go on a shooting rampage in their school in search of revenge.
Ariel Uppstrom
I've been wanting to read this for some time now. This is a fictionalized story of two boys who create a plan to get back at their high school tormentors. The way the book is written is interesting. It is done as short excerpts from interviews with people involved in the event. These are sewn together to for a coherent retelling of events. Though I found this an interesting way to write the story, I found it difficult to keep the names in order in my head and really create a picture of the chara ...more
Eva Leger
Jul 10, 2009 Eva Leger rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young people...ones who don't follow others beliefs easily
Recommended to Eva by: found it on-line somewhere
I wouldn't have read this if my daughter hadn't pulled it out but I finished it in about a half of a day and I'm glad I got through it. It's obviously meant for young people and I think it's probably a good for teenagers also but my only problem with it is the author and how he's totally against owning guns.
I'm well aware of the school shootings and I'm also well aware of the Constitution. I have the right to bear arms and I want to make sure if someone walks in my house with the intention of h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shawn Sorensen
One of those issues that's always in the background and frequently, painfully in the foreground: bullying. Human beings, by nature and insecure within a complex existence, need to create pecking orders. We do our best, through openness and thoughtfulness, to mitigate the pain and unfairness to everyone caught in the hierarchy.

This book is a vivid, tense look about a few factors that caused a school shooting. It's fiction, but painfully real. One speculation is that it would have been to close t
Heather Colacurcio
I've read a lot of fiction and non-fiction regarding school violence and this is truly one of the best. Strasser blends fact and fiction in order to alert his reader; we must discover what causes violent behavior in teens, even if it means examining our own behavior more closely. Bullying along with gun control are some of the controversial topics Strasser touches upon in this little book. I may have read this in a few hours, but the impression it made upon me will last a lot longer. Although I' ...more
Ally Femrite
I really liked the book over all. It really made me think about the servarity of bullying that takes place in school. I personally have never been bullyied and I can not even imagine the pain that those two boys felt. I really enjoyed the way the book had detail and how it really expressed the way that Breandan and Gary felt. I think that the boys did what was best for them because neither of them really had much to look forward to in their own eyes.
The book made me think about the Columbine s
Michael Taylor
Jan 17, 2012 Michael Taylor rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Michael by: Jen
Ok, let me start by saying, I've never read a book by Todd Strasser that I didn't like. And Give a Boy a Gun did not change that opinion.

Reading the book was like watching a documentary, which I must say I enjoy doing. The book pulls the reader into the lives of people who are dealing with a school shooting. The driving force behind the book is bullying, an all too common topic in our world.

This book is very short, but the discussions it creates can be phenomenal. I think this book is a MUST rea
I liked this but I didn't really feel the emotions that I think I should have been getting from a book surrounding this topic. Also, so many POVs that I never knew who was who!

Interesting but I had many problems. The footnotes at the bottom were sometimes interesting facts but they were very distracting from the book itself.
Max Feldman
Max Feldman
English 8-9

Book Review

The second book I read was Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strauser. I enjoyed this book very much. This book displayed several genres like mystery and realistic fiction. I liked this book because it shared many details about each situation. This book doesn’t really connect or relate to any book. One of the very small parts I disliked about this book is all of the comments about the situation. I would rather have more of summary through the book not comments, whe
I debated betweeen giving this book a 4 or a 5. A 5 because I think this is a book that every teacher, parent, counselor... working with teens should read. It does a great job of presenting different opinions and feelings of those working with teens and teens themselves. It made it clear that there is not any easy answer to the troubles in school, and also gun control. It had eye opening statistics. However, I wouldn't say it is always the most exciting read. It is mainly little snippets of peop ...more
I think this book is probally the best book i have read so far. It highlight the controversial question if people should be able to get thier hands on guns not used for hunting. This book makes you think about pay more attention to the people around you. Alot of different people can relate to the problems in the story. I personaly could really relate to the book because im in high school and alot of the things go unfixed. It is not a long read by it is the story details make you never want to pu ...more
Brian Asencio
It was intense. It has a lot of conflict with Brendan and Gary. They had so much conflict that they even had to get to the point where one of them committed suicide and the other one didn't get to. They were harassed by the kids at their high school every day. then once they got to the point where they were tired of it, they stole guns from their neighbor and held the school hostage. i don't want to spoil any more so I recommend you read this book.

Thursday- 58 pgs
Friday- 60 pgs
Saturday- 67 pgs
Victoria Waddle
“One of the things I used to like about writing books for young people was that it wasn’t necessary to deal with murder, adultery, and various other immoral or criminal activities that seem mandatory in adult novels these days. I find it sad and frightening that this is no longer the case.”

Author’s Note from Give a Boy a Gun

When Denise Shipley learns that her neighbor Gary Searle is dead of a gunshot wound after joining Brendan Lawlor in shooting classmates in his high school, she goes home to M
This book seemed really interesting, the topic matter and what I heard from people. So I decided to read it and sure, it was good, but at times it just got boring and at times too confusing. There were too many people, and having all these people talking about the experience, spoiled the whole last part for me. You knew who would survive, you knew who would be there and what would happen.

When the shooting actually happened, it was terrifying, but on the other hand, I already knew what was going
The story, Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser, is about these two kids named gary and Brendon. Brendon moves into the high school and is new and gary was already there and was already an outcast. But when brendon moved he was popular in his other school but becomes an outcast just like gary. The more and more they were bullied the more they became friends. Then this one night at the school dance brendon and gary go in with masks covering their face and had brought guns in. They were going to get ...more
Trevor Hubbard
I guess it's weird to say that I liked a book about a school shooting, but I strongly liked "Give a Boy a Gun." It told of the torment of 2 boys, Brendan and Gary, who eventually went on to hold up a school dance, armed with guns and explosives. The story was told in an interesting format - excerpts of interviews taken after this fictional shooting allowed readers to piece together the circumstances that led up to the final climax. The story was in no means black and white in regards to its pres ...more
Give a Boy a Gun is probably one of my favourite YA novels. The story is about Gary and Brendan, two high school juniors who have been bullied constantly for the past three years. Inspired by events like Columbine, they eventually decide to strategically shoot up their school. The whole book, however, is told as little interview snippets after the fact by some of their classmates and teachers, and shows the progression of the two boys' hatred and aggression. Another cool part is at the bottom of ...more
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Todd Strasser is an American author of more than 130 young-adult and middle grade novels and novelizations, some written under the pen names Morton Rue and T.S.Rue

Todd was born in New York City. When he was young his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York (Long Island). Todd went to the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then attended the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. His bes
More about Todd Strasser...
Boot Camp Wish You Were Dead (Thrillogy, #1) Fallout Blood on My Hands (Thrillogy, #2) If I Grow Up

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