School is hardly the safe space and learning environment that people think it should be. And outcast Andy knows the more than anyone, so when a rumour spreads about Blake having a gun is his locker Andy is intrigued. Hoping it might change his own status Andy breaks into Blake’s locker but doesn’t find any gun. Eventually Andy and Blake become unlikely friends, spending lots of time together and sharing all their secrets.

But there’s one thing Andy doesn’t understand, what’s with the date Blake has crossed out on his calendar? What is he planning and is it something that Andy can prevent?

Trigger warning for violence, bullying and shootings.

I give this book two stars (out of five). I really enjoyed reading this book, although it’s relatively short, has kind of weird formatting and minimal details. The main character Andy is a nobody at his high school, he has no friends and gets tormented and bullied by most of the other kids. There’s a rumor that Blake (another nobody) has a gun hidden in his locker. Andy’s crush offers him ‘something’ if he breaks into Blake’s locker to find out if there’s really a gun. He does, and there’s no gun.

In a strange turn of events; Blake and Andy become friends. And it turns out there is a gun, it was Blake’s dad (who’s dead now). After a few months of friendship and going out together and shooting the gun (mainly for fun or to get out anger), March comes along. While hanging out together out of the corner of his eye Andy sees that Blake has March 5th, blacked out in sharpie on his calendar. Andy doesn’t exactly question it right away but he does wonder what it means.

[Spoiler warning, skip to the last paragraph to avoid them]

Until March 5th, when he sees Blake storming off after another encounter with a bully. After seeing that he finally understands and gets worried, he rushes to tell his dad, who’s the school’s janitor, about the gun and what he thinks Blake might be about to do with it. His dad then rushes to call the police and get everyone out safely.

In the end, Blake gets sent to some facility and Andy gets to be popular at school for saving everyone’s lives. But Andy still feels empty and he lost his first genuine friend, but at least he stopped a school shooting from happening.

Overall this book was honestly pretty sad and grim, especially since there’s lots of school shootings and it’s a very real, scary topic. Anyways, I thought this book has compelling characters, a great plot and overall captured the essence of high school (at least in America and similar countries where school shootings are a big issue).