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Give a Boy a Gun

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,025 Ratings  ·  627 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 57 books — 231 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
192nd out of 1,810 books — 10,561 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
Lisa Litberg
Mar 20, 2008 Lisa Litberg rated it liked it
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
Ashley dillon
May 08, 2009 Ashley dillon rated it it was amazing
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
Tyler Clark
Mar 14, 2011 Tyler Clark rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2015 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

,,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
Jun 04, 2014 Elie Sassine rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 08, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grade: B+

In the aftermath of a school shooting and bombing, a recent graduate and journalism returns to her alma mater to interview survivors and witnesses to try to reconstruct what lead Brendan and Gary to do the unthinkable. What she finds is a history of relentless bullying by jocks, teachers and administrators who looked the other way and justified the bullying and students who accepted the status quo.

Rather than a traditional narrative, Todd Strasser wrote GIVE A BOY A GUN as a series of i
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
Eva Leger
Jul 10, 2009 Eva Leger rated it liked it
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
Jun 09, 2011 Bethany rated it liked it
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
Oct 20, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok
In light of the event now world-renown as ‘Columbine’, Todd “The Vulture” Sesser does his best to cash in on the tragedy (and perhaps explore the devastating causes and consequences of the disparaging staple of contemporary American life known as school shootings) by shilling a harrowing psychological pre-teen tale concerning the tortured minds of two shitheads that embark upon a shooting of their own, beneath the noble banner of ‘ending youth violence’, or so the dedication goes. Then again, ma ...more
Nov 29, 2012 7703isabel rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jul 08, 2009 Heather Colacurcio rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
Apr 28, 2009 Ally Femrite rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 03, 2008 Al rated it it was amazing
Shelves: got-to-read
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
Alex Kahn
Sep 04, 2009 Alex Kahn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ssr, favorites, nonfiction
This book was very scary. Not in the fact that it was a suspense or horror, but because it could happen anywhere. It was VERY well written and I would suggest it to everyone. If you ask me, I think that everyone should learn from Gary and Brendan. If everyone stopped bullying others, these things might never happen. Me being a victim to bullying in my elementary days. So I know exactly what these poor boys lived through. It can be stopped by anyone at anytime and they attempted the change
Doris Schlaffer
Feb 13, 2016 Doris Schlaffer rated it really liked it
"Nothing - and everything - about it is real." (authors note).

Auch wenn das Buch reine Fiction ist, die Thematik ist es leider nicht. Durch die Schreibweise (Quotes der Angehörigen / Überlebenden und den realen Zahlen & Fakten über Waffengewalt in Amerika) wird dieses Buch zu einem bewegenden Erlebnis.

"Stick and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me? It's a load of crap. A stick stops hurting after a few minutes. Names last a long time."
Sep 20, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
I started this book as a read aloud in my 9th grade English classes. Although it's a pretty easy read, the subject is so captivating that I've had my kids' attention all week. Great introduction to voice, multiple perspectives and characterization. Lots of interesting quotes about guns, violence, parents, schools that create excellent leaps into class discussions. Resources in the back for further research and discussion.
Alyssa Haught
Sep 27, 2009 Alyssa Haught rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ssr
Alyssa haught pd. 5-6 Give a boy a gun by: Todd Strasser 8/12/09 i give it a 7

The person that changed the most i thought was Gary. i thought that gary changed the most because he was kind of a shy kid in elementary school then from there on he was bullied and tourtured. That is where he changed the most thats where he started to hate eveyone that was mean or ever bulled him.
Chris Gonzalez
Sep 29, 2009 Chris Gonzalez rated it liked it
brandon change the most at first him and he's friend gary were in first grade then brandon was nice and cool but has they got older he got bullied and gary started noticed brandon was getting mean and a little evil so brandon couldn't take it so he got a gun and went on a rampage and shot the people who bullied him.
Jun 12, 2016 Kellie rated it did not like it
Given the subject matter, I wasn't expecting to come away loving this book. But, given the high rankings I thought I might come away feeling it was worth my time and would be thought provoking. Instead, it is a rehashing of the media's knee jerk version of Columbine, further pushing the idea that the shooters were victimized (which has since been proven to not be the case.) Furthermore, this book paints the victims as being deserving of what happened to them. Perhaps the author feels that is oka ...more
Corey Svrcina
Jun 04, 2014 Corey Svrcina rated it really liked it
"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
Mar 02, 2011 713james rated it really liked it
Shelves: 7th-grade-books
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.
Imanol Garcia
May 15, 2016 Imanol Garcia rated it really liked it
The book i have decided to read was Give a boy a gun. Now that i wont rate this as one of my most favorite books i would give it a solid four due to how it follows the life of two highschool students Brendan and Gary which were both mistreeted througout there high school they feel as if they need a sense of revenge. With this book realising afterthe Columbine high shooting it could basically be seen as a map to whymany highschool students have acted how they have due to being social outkast and ...more
Trevor R
Mar 07, 2016 Trevor R rated it really liked it
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser was a pretty good book, but it was also confusing because in some parts of the book it was hard to keep track where story was taking place. I gave this book a rate of 4 stars out of 5 because the intensity of the book and the plan and how the plan actually worked. Also, there were some spots in the beginning where I was confused and I didn't know what was happening. The intensity of the part when Gary and Brendan were at the dance. A fictional story about a high ...more
Nathan Caister
Feb 22, 2016 Nathan Caister rated it liked it
This book was interesting for me to read because of the fact that it was told from many different views. All but from the two who did the crime because they're dead. The book seemed like a documentary of this crime that didn't actually happen. I like how they told the story because now you see other people's side. Now we know how the victims and the attackers felt about the situation at hand.
The reason why it only got a three out of five stars is because of how short the book is. The problem w
Feb 21, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To tell the story of two alienated and disaffected teenagers who become obsessed with guns and bombs and ultimately vow to exact revenge on all the students, faculty members, and administrators at their school, Todd Strasser uses a quilt of voices to reflect the incomplete narrative that inevitably emerges from tragedies such as these.

None of the characters in this chronicle is developed in any conventional sense—and the underdevelopment of the characters, along with the hazy sense of plot, unc
Amy  Lawson
This was a haunting story that sadly mirrors lots of what we see on the news today about gun violence in America. Gary and Brendan were like so many young people who walk the halls of American schools.... Just trying to feel accepted and left alone. This is an important story of perspective by the same author who wrote The Wave.

Students read. Teachers read. And maybe we can all learn to be just a bit kinder to one another.

Amazing quotes in the epilogue.....
“What I do know is that from now on I w
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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...

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