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Give a Boy a Gun

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,444 Ratings  ·  694 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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com

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
...more
Chris
Oct 04, 2009 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
Ashley dillon
Apr 27, 2009 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
Lisa Litberg
Mar 20, 2008 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
Tyler Clark
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marvin
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LESEMUSS !

Zitat:
,,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."
[S.45]

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
...more
Betryal
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
...more
Bethany
Jun 09, 2011 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
...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
...more
Amy's Book Reviews
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
...more
7703isabel
Nov 28, 2012 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
Ally Femrite
Apr 28, 2009 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
...more
Heather Colacurcio
Jul 02, 2009 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
Elie Sassine
Jun 04, 2014 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
...more
Sue
Aug 16, 2009 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
Al
Jun 02, 2008 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 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 11, 2016 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."
Amy
May 26, 2010 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.
Chris Gonzalez
Sep 01, 2009 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.
Alyssa Haught
Sep 08, 2009 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.
713james
Mar 02, 2011 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.
Laura
Mar 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: favourite, crime, i-own, 3-star
It freaks me out how this can happen at any normal school... and does
Roscoe
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
“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 panic of this desperate situation, it soon becomes clear that only one thing matters to Brendan and Gary: revenge.” (Back of cover/blurb). The book I am reviewing is Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser. I believe the purpose the author wrote thi ...more
Ariana
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Super intriguing especially towards the end, makes it feel very real
Liz
Jan 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
"Give a Boy a Gun" is the story of Gary and Brendan, two boys who are given so much grief by their classmates, that they feel there is only one way out, and to take those who made them miserable with them. It is told in quotes and facts: facts about gun violence and youth; and quotes from Gary and Brendan’s friends, family, neighbours, teachers, and classmates.

This book had a lot of potential. It is controversial, but this is a topic worth addressing. However, the manner in which the topic was h
...more
Sally
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Give a Boy a Gun, from what the title says one can guess that the book is about a boy possibly acquiring a gun. That's what I thought when i first picked the book up from Ms. Galang's philosophy shelf.
Before I read the book, it never occurred to me that guns were actually really easy to obtain. Well, I'm only a thirteen year old who doesn't really understand how the world works yet, so how would I know how to obtain a gun? I always thought guns were locked up and can only be obtained by adult
...more
Trevor Hubbard
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Griselda
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Leger
Dec 29, 2008 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
...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
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“This, then, is the story of what I learned. It is told in many voices, in words far more eloquent and raw than I could have thought on my own. It is a story of heartbreak and fear and regret. But mostly it is a warning. Violence comes in many forms- guns, fists, and words of hate and contempt. Unless we change the way we treat others in school and out, there will be more- and more horrible- tragedies.” 1 likes
“Well, screw you. Screw all of you. I hope this letter is like a knife in your hearts. You ruined my life. All I've done is pay you back in kind.” 1 likes
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