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Give a Boy a Gun

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  6,490 ratings  ·  796 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)
Matt The main shooting/event occurs

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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
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 ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-books-owned
Another surprising read for me this month! I really thought this book was important and had some really nice quotes! I connected with the characters because this all felt like things I went through in high school. You can tell the author did their research.
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.
yasmine skalli
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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. ...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
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
The subject is obviously important and still relevant. Maybe there have just been too many shootings since the publication for this to be thought provoking. I liked the inclusion of statistics and quotes throughout the fictional accounts of events.
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 ...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
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
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
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 ...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
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
As an is so hard for me to read novels like this. I know these things happen, but it is just so sad. What drives a person to take a someone else life? What drives a person to outcast the one that doesn't fit "societal norms"? How much have we ignored as adults? This is scary. The author did a wonderful job at capturing and invoking a wide range of emotions from the writing to the reader. It was good story, heavy, but nicely done. I wish there was an easy answer to the bullying, ...more
Corey Svrcina
Jun 04, 2014 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
Michael Taylor
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mark Auld
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Give a Boy a Gun was one of my favorite books I've ever read. This book covered a major topic that is an ongoing problem in todays society about gun violence. This connects to todays society because every day, people are getting treated like crap and commit these horrible things. I don't blame them for putting an end to their misery, but there was no need to do that to others. I really liked the way this book was written. All throughout the story were quotes from people who knew Gary and ...more
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 ...more
Max Feldman
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-grade, quarter-1
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,
Danielle Bartos
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
The layout of the storytelling is very interesting and the climax of the story quite intense, but I just felt there could have been so much more done with this story. Maybe since I've read other school shooting books before such as Nineteen Minutes I thought there would be more to it. Horribly tragic, with a small twist in the last paragraph that I didn't see coming and would have liked to have known more about prior to the end. I wish I could have seen more narrative from certain characters and ...more
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 ...more
Brian Asencio
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alex Kahn
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction, ssr
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
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was young and I think this dynamic and story helped solidify why I want to become a mental health professional. So many people suffer within themselves, on top of suffering within the world. This book is a great read... definitely a read that is eye-opening when I was a teenager. Still eye-opening now, as the country still deals with the issue of school shootings, or shootings in general.
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.
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.
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.
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Todd Strasser is an American author of more than 130 novels for adults, young-adults, and middle graders.

His most recent novel is Summer of '69

Booklist review: "Drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll, those hallmarks of the summer of 1969, are all here, but there's so much more. In this loosely autobiographical novel, Strasser introduces 18-year-old Lucas, who is bright and sensitive but also a screw up….
“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
More quotes…