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Silent Alarm

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  865 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Alys’s whole world was comprised of the history project that was due, her upcoming violin audition, being held tightly in the arms of her boyfriend, Ben, and laughing with her best friend, Delilah. At least it was—until she found herself on the wrong end of a shotgun in the school library. Her suburban high school had become one of those places you hear about on the news—a ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Putnam Juvenile
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Emma If you like a book about painful truth, a ripple effect of one person's actions shaping everyone around them, and a long path to healing, I would…moreIf you like a book about painful truth, a ripple effect of one person's actions shaping everyone around them, and a long path to healing, I would recommend this book. It is a powerful insight into not only the way that the people that were meant to get hurt by the shooting, but also those that weren't were forever changed, how their world shattered like a glass ball and how there are no easy answers to anything at some point in life. It leaves many haunting questions, such as how a quiet, slightly depressed boy who hated attention and had a golden future could turn into a madman, who took a gun, killing many people, including Katie, a girl who he practically grew up with, or whether those left behind deserve to start again. I found it a great book, but if not everyone may think so. I would recommend reading the reviews, and seeing if the things praised strike your fancy (less)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  865 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, own
This was very dark, very gritty, and very powerful. I have read a few books about school shootings, and while my favorite will always be Nineteen Minutes, this is one I'm not likely to forget any time soon.

Silent Alarm focuses more on after the fact than the shooting itself. We do see the event unfold, but the story is more about Alys having to live with what her brother did. As expected, there's a great amount of grief, of guilt, of "what ifs" on her part. Her character is developed in a way
Faseeh Ilahi
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
This was okayish. I lived the first half of the book but in the remaining half of the book I felt as if the author was just dragging the story. The plot was nice but the story was incomplete. It kinda got boring at the end. It was overall an okay book.
Sara Grochowski
In her newest novel, Silent Alarm, Jennifer Banash explores the emotional topic of school shootings and their aftermaths from the point-of-view of the shooter's sister. Alys is a daughter, a musician, a best friend, and a girlfriend, but, after her brother opens fire on their school campus and then kills himself, Alys is only the sister of a murderer. Her parents, incapacitated by grief and guilt, retreat within themselves, leaving Alys to work through her complicated feelings and confusion by ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know how this book was going to go. I'm very happy read it. I was taken away by the writing and the emotion. The thoughts from aly's are bone chilling accurate to what you would suspect to a victim/survivor and sister to a killer. This story grabs you from the first chapter and makes your soul discover sympathy where you hadn't thought possible.


1)Emotional depth
2)Emotional roller coaster
3)Thought provoking
4)Well written
5)well developed characters
6)A protagonist to cheer for
Miranda Lynn
4.5 stars


Silent Alarm was such a gripping, powerful, and emotional book. It's going to take me a long time to recover from this one.

I tend to gravitate towards dark contemporaries like this, and Silent Alarm was exactly what I was hoping for. It's one of those Horrible Event books, but instead of focusing entirely on that Horrible Event itself, Banash decided to make the recovery process take center stage. And I loved that.

Even though I ended up DNFing it, that specific aspect
Jennifer Daniel
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
A frank look at how a school shooting affected the shooters sister and parents. I wish they would have given a little more insight into Luke's motivation. They spoke of him having "moods" and being depressed but I wanted to know more. Maybe the author didn't share that since the family didn't have that information and she wanted the reader to feel that frustration.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will stick with me for a very long time. When tragedy strikes our hearts immediately go out to the victims and their families. We look at the perpetrator with rage and disgust. But what about the families of those who commit the most heinous crimes? What becomes of their lives? How should be feel about them? A must read!
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-but-unowned
Wow. What an emotional novel. Reading about a school shooting is gut wrenching itself, but reading about the shooters family's backlash and how it affected them... Banash did a wonderful job, in my opinion.

I could not imagine my sibling doing this. Alys not only lived through it, but she saw her brother in the act. In fact, she could have easily been one of the victims. Then to have to live everyday knowing that, knowing the people her own flesh and blood shot... Not that I have any experience,
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"You should have aimed higher, Luke. You should have.
But not with that gun."

Wow, this is a powerful book. A powerful story for all the wrong reasons.

School shootings. I hate them. As a mother, they honestly scare the crap out of me. And the just happen so often.....

But this story isn't from the shooter's perspective - it's the unique perspective of the aftermath of the family left behind by the shooter. They didn't know - how did they miss it? the world thinks. What did they do to make him
Melissa I
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. it's an easy rrad on a tough y
Recommended to Melissa by: It was sent to me by Penguin Publishing. Had NO influence on my honest thoughts.
It's tough to say this was a fantastic book because of the horrific events that take place. However it is a fantastic book and once again, #Penguin, #PenguinTeen #GPPutnam #PutnamBooks and this author have brought yet another memorable and wonderful #book to my #2015Reading year! ~*Thank You*~ For the pleasure to have been able to read this book.

Due for publishing in March so I'll have a better review posted before then. However, right I do highly recommend it. Can't hide from reality and
Em 🍒
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book gripped me in so tightly that I started it around 8pm and here I am now, sad and touched by it at 2am.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Goodreads Synopsis:
Alys’s whole world was comprised of the history project that was due, her upcoming violin audition, being held tightly in the arms of her boyfriend, Ben, and laughing with her best friend, Delilah. At least it was—until she found herself on the wrong end of a shotgun in the school library. Her suburban high school had become one of those places you hear about on the news—a place where some disaffected youth decided to end it all and take as many of his teachers and classmates
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: too-real
3 stars.
The book started of really well, up until the end everything was so realistic and the whole situation and feelings of the characters felt real. However, but the end, after prom it felt like Banash was trying to wrap up the book within the next 20 or so pages. So the ending felt very rushed, and Banash definitely could have extended this story for another hundred pages. I feel overly satisfied with the end of the book, especially since the summary detailed her finding out the reason for
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! I got a hardcover for review via YA Books Central.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 0
Disability: 1 (Undiagnosed PTSD)
Intersectionality: 0

Stories of school shootings and other general tragedies are strangely fascinating despite the morbid nature of them. I guess I’m just weird. How else are multiple books written and multiple documentaries made trying to help us understand how the Columbine massacre happened? When high school
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Okay, here we go again. Silent Alarm is a book imagining the sufferings of a small town that has suffered through a terrible school shooting. Oh, and Alys (the narrator and our heroine) just happens to be the shooter's sister. It's an absolute disaster for her and her family, and Alys is basically alienated and seen as a suspicious character. Everyone thinks that she is going to snap just like her brother has, and they blame her in the place of him. Obviously, school shootings isn't a very easy ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Alys Aronson's life is forever changed when her brother, Luke, shoots and kills fifteen people.

Alys was in the library when the gunshots started and though she'll never know why, her brother did decide to spare her that day. But in the aftermath of that terrible tragedy, and even though Luke took his own life the day of the shooting, Alys and her family become the focus of the town's frustration and misery. What's worse, Alys will never be able to understand why her brother did what he did that
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: C+

Shots are fired in a high school. Alys stares down the barrel of a gun, realizing the shoes of the gunman belong to her brother, Luke. Though he spares her life, he kills fifteen before ending his own life. Instantly, Alys and her family become pariahs. Her boyfriend drops her as does her lifelong best friend. And she's hallucinating Luke and one of his victims, whose death she witnessed.

Jennifer Banash's gorgeous prose set the scenes for plots and subplots in a ways that brought me
Andrew Kim
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Book Review of Jennifer Banash’s Silent Alarm
In Silent Alarm, Jennifer Banash tells the story of Alys Aronson, a 17-year-old girl who tries to navigate her world after her brother Luke shot 15 people dead in a school library. The town wants answers on why Luke would do this, but Alys knows that her own brother wouldn't even do such a violent act like this. Alys now looks for answers on what caused Luke to do this and discovers the hidden side of Luke, which questions the very identity of
Jenna (Bookiemoji)
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read more at Bookiemoji

Silent Alarm is a novel for our time. A time when children are given the opportunity to decide whether or not their peers are worthy to live. A time when not only are earthquake or tornado drills a norm in our schools, but now students are routinely practicing lock-downs (even in elementary school settings) so that each child is prepared for the “worst case scenario”. This is not a situation any parent ever wants to imagine their children being in – on either side of the
Kate Brown
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
Yet another book about a mass school shooting, except this one is written from the perspective of the shooter's sister. Alys must cope with her brother's decision to kill 15 people at his high school before turning the gun on himself. Alys and her parents are not only grieving over the loss of Luke, but also the ramifications of his decision. They become the targets for people's anger and hurt. I enjoyed this perspective, but I found the continual "woe-is-me" a bit annoying. It would still be a ...more
I cried three times while reading this in one sitting. Not racking sobs, just a few tears at odd intervals, so this book got to me and I loved it.
My only complaint for the novel would be that there wasn't a motive for what Luke did—and maybe the author intended that, it would make sense (how do you find out the motives of a dead guy, right?). But it would've been nice.
Otherwise, this was a wonderfully written novel, heartbreaking and powerful.
Amanda Snow
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, young-adult
Haunting, but beautiful.
Janelle Sowders
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book will HAUNT you, will impact you so deeply...
I would have liked the author to include more about Luke's motivation behind the shooting. I felt something was missing from the novel, but I liked it. It was a quick read.
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking. A look at the other side of tragedy.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start? I just finished this book less then five minutes ago and I am still crying. I haven't cried this much while reading a book since I read All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

This follows the story of a seventeen year old girl named Alys, one day her brother walked into her school and shot everyone in sight then turned the gun on himself. But when he ran into his sister on this killing spree, he spared her life.

Just from reading the synopsis you can tell that this will be a
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Silent Alarms was absolutely beautiful and gut-wrenching, one of the best books I've ever read. The writing style is impeccable and captivating, and the plot plays out perfectly. Full disclosure: I cried twice and teared up about five times while reading this book, and I am most definitely not the sort of person to get emotional easily. The emotional aspect of this book - filled with utter pain and chaos - is written more accurately than any other book I've ever read, and stunningly manages to ...more
Tracy Tibbels
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of the books I'll be covering for a book talk (about school shootings) in my library system, so I won't go into detail about the book here. I do want to say, though, that this was one of the better written books on the subject that I've read. I tried reading something similar recently--that is, I tried reading another book written from the standpoint of the shooter's family member--and it just didn't pull me in. I couldn't get interested in it. I believe it was the format of the book ...more
3.5 Stars.

One day, while Alys is at the library, working on her history paper, her brother Luke walks into school, gunning down 15 students. 'Silent Alarm' starts off with the actual shooting, however, the main part of the book describes how Alys and her parents deal with what Luke has done.

I actually think that this book deserves more stars, however, as I've read 'A Mother's Reckoning' shortly before I started with "Silent Alarm", I constantly found myself comparing the two books with each
Marco Morano
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Going into this novel, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Books that deal with topics such as these (in this case a school shooting) are either done really well or are just bad. Lucky for me, I found that this book did the topic of school shootings justice; while we don't get a big story arc or a lot of action, this story mainly focuses on the aftermath of a school shooting. How communities react and scapegoat other members of the family of the shooter, and how family members react when they ...more
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Jennifer Banash was born and raised in New York City. She now lives in Southern California with her beagle, Sigmund, and her vast collection of designer shoes.

Check out my blog at
“I'm sorry,' I say for what feels like the millionth time. I know, even as my mouth forms the words, that I will say them for the rest of my life. Forever. That there will never be a time when I am not, in some small way, apologizing for the damage my brother has wrought.” 4 likes
“Luke is dead too, like Katie, I know, but this makes no difference. My grief will always be less important.” 2 likes
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