Cover Image: #NotReadyToDie


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When a shooter shows up at South Western High School, the students and teachers dive into lock down. Under the tables, teacher locking the door.. As long as the shooter hasn't got there first!

Students quietly patiently waiting to see/hear if they were getting out alive!

In homeroom sub, the students quietly await their fate.  

What would you do in their position?

A great story which teaches us that we judge too quickly sometimes. This book focuses on the students of homeroom sub had to work together to survive. Finding out new things about each other, the girls find out they have more in common than they think. It is told from the point of view of Ginny one of the student in the room.

Not very action packed but it is a YA novel so there's only so much the author can put. A emotional read as the book flicks between past and present. As well as tweets, which also help to keep us up to date.
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I received a free e-ARC of this book via Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

One thing that I love about YA Fiction is that it often tackles real life issues, such as sexuality, mental health, and in recent years, school shootings. This book focuses mainly on a school shooting, but actually touches upon some other important topics, including the ones mentioned earlier.

#NotReadyToDie is told from the POV of a girl named Ginny. It’s an average day in a Canadian high school class room when gunshots go off. In that moment, everything changes as the students hide under their desks and try to stay alive with a gunman walking through the halls of their school.

This novel takes place almost completely during the shooting, with just a few flashback moments to contextualize Ginny’s life. Inter-spliced through are tweets about the event, some of which come from students we recognize, while others come from parents, news outlets, and other students in the building. Social media and pop culture come up often in this novel, which is good as it helps to really ground the story as being current, with mentions of the Kardashians and Donald Trump, but it will also make the story dated in a few years, which is unfortunate.

The characters honestly weren’t too memorable. Many of them are reduced to stereotypes, though this is the fault of our narrator Ginny, who admits that she judges people too much. We have the cheerleaders, known as “Barbies,” the Nerds (yes, with a capital N,) the dumb jocks… and then the rest of the students. Mainly, we have Ginny and Kayla as the main characters, Max and Owen as flat side characters we see but don’t learn much about, and a few others who get named but we really don’t care about once they’re off the page. If the story had been longer, maybe we could have gotten to know the other classmates better, but unfortunately they’re sort of just left as flat supporting background characters.

As mentioned earlier, I do like that it touches on other topics frequently explored in YA books, such as sexuality and mental health topics. We have two gay characters, one out and one closeted. There’s also a student struggling with her anxiety, as she left her medicine in her locker. Ginny, the protagonist, cuts herself, and even during the shooting incident she’s seen picking at scabs and making them bleed. I was glad to see that this shooting wasn’t a “remedy” for her cutting, and she still has this problem by the end of the story.

I also felt like the characters were talking a bit too much for a situation like this. At first, our characters communicated via gestures and phone messages, and by the end they’re talking and even singing quietly! I think that the general consensus when they’re a gunman stalking the halls and shooting at the door handle is to be silent and still. Of course, for the sake of the narrative it needed dialogue, but I constantly wanted them all to shut up and hide.

In the end, I’d give this 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on review sites. The danger and thrill and anxiety was definitely there, but the stereotypical characters and lack of depth kept it from being as impactful and moving as it could have been. I would recommend this to fans of This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, Violent Ends (a compilation by various authors) or to anyone who wants to read about this difficult subject.
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This was one of the best fictional books i've read about the topic. It doesn't glorify the act, it just shows the raw truth about the scared people living thought it.
I found it interesting and concise. The author had something to say and didn't create unnecessary drama just to make the book longer. 
I enjoyed reading it very much.
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This book was not what I expected. It was a total let down for me. The main character was more selfish then anything, more concerned about prom and just criticizing everyone in the class. 

The subject matter of the novel is all too real, because unfortunately it's sad to say, school shoots have become a norm for us, however this novel wasn't realistic at all. I felt like it was a missed opportunity that could have been bigger and better. 

This is my honest opinion.

Rating 1
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*Spoilers in review*

My main issue with this book is the main character. While her crush is bleeding out from being shot she actually thinks to herself she has to save him so her Prom won’t be ruined. When another student, Kayla, steps in to help, Ginny thinks to herself that this girl (who she dubs Barbie because of her looks) better not be trying to step onto her territory with Owen. When she realized Owen was gay and dating Max, she suddenly didn’t care if anyone made it out because her heart was broken. She also got weirdly jealous of her new “bestie” Kayla when she compliment another girl - with that, I did get the vibe maybe Ginny was into her because she also got weird when Kayla mentioned Paul, the guy she liked and was jealous from a romantic standpoint. Even so, she’d just mentioned wanting to confess her love to Owen so it just kind of seemed like a jumbled mess. It just didn’t feel right for a school shooting setting. Ginny seemed, quite often, preoccupied with petty or superficial things.

Things I did like: Ginny and Kayla bonding. Ginny deciding to use this experience of being called out for her judgmental behavior to become a better person. The end where Ginny, Kayla, MJ, Owen, Max, and Paul are shown to have become good friends after due to their shared trauma. MJ and Ginny being dates to Prom, though I wish they’d explored Ginny’s apparently interest in multiple genders a bit more.

*Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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The topic of this book is very close to reality right now, but that's about it. School shootings are terrifying, but I can't imagine that your first and only thoughts would be with your crush during such a tragedy. I've listened to countless accounts of survivors of school shootings, and those people's number one priority is always their family at home. 
Story itself has no depth and is very short; emotion in the storytelling was missing. Short read.
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A thought-provoking story with a confident narrative voice and a powerful set of characters set in Toronto during a school shooting. Unlike other novels of the genre, Cate chooses not to focus on the shooter but on the victims trying to survive. So much so that by the end of the book we don’t even know who the perpetrator of the crime was except from hearsay. I thought this was a bold move that puts the victims and their coping on the centre of the narrative.
However, at the same time I can’t help but think this novel could have done with a little bit more of conflict. Although the characters are incredibly well crafted, by letting the plot be driven by their conversations and internal struggles the book fails to deliver as much as it could have. The reader keeps expecting a climax that is never fully realised, and although I appreciated the bonding between the characters, some instances of it crossed the boundaries of suspension of disbelief. Even in such a traumatic situation, I find it hard that teenagers would gladly share deeply personal stuff and embarrassing secrets to their peers.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the narration of Ginny, our main character (a Jewish Canadian angsty teen and the daughter of two Potterheads), and I ESPECIALLY enjoyed the character of Kayla. One of my all-time favourite tropes is that of the cheerleader that precisely defies the cliches of what a cheerleader is, and I was so happy that Cate chose to portray a cheerleader who is proud of her sport and who doesn’t believe being an athlete should be at odds with having other ambitions and interests.
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I guess with shootings happening in the US and being reported on our TV news, and reading that all US schools have special drills in place for this type of eventuality made me curious. We have also had school shootings in the UK, so I was interested in reading this book. I think the book will really stand out on a book store shelf as it is bright orange and then the title being in the form of a hashtag will in my opinion make it even more appealing to teens.

The story begins with the main character Gin reading some graffiti that is written on the underside of her desk, “Jarrold H. is a weiner 1981.”
Gin wonders who Jarrold was, why someone thought he was a wiener. Was he still considered a wiener, or did he outgrow it? Did Jarrold survive the bullying okay and grow up, get a decent job, wife and family? Next Gin starts to ponder the person who wrote it. It had to be a boy as a girl’s would have wrote the graffiti in a toilet cubicle. A girl wouldn’t get under a desk to write graffiti! 
Gin’s mind wanders to what the equivalent of bullying by graffiti was nowadays. It would be something written or an incriminating photo online, Facebook or Instagram. The bullying would travel quicker these days with social media and it could be done anonymously too. 

The book then begins to address why Gin is laid on the floor under her desk. The day had started out like any other, the students were taking their seats in homeroom, preparing for the arrival of Miss Jones, their temporary substitute teacher. Their usual teacher was off on maternity leave. Shots are heard and then Gin see’s Miss Jones at the door ushering Owen Sanders into the room and under his desk. 

The book then tells the story of the young teens from Gin’s point of view. Gin thinks back to that morning how her and her mum had words. Gin is scared she won’t see her mum again. What if those sharp words are the last word’s she ever gets chance to say to her mum.
The book flashes back in Gin’s memories of her Uncle’s death, then that of her father. Gin attempts to text her mum, as she knows her mum will be so upset and anxious as they only have each other now. The shooting at the school is all over the news sites and social media. 

Gin also interacts with the other students. She has a secret crush on Owen Sanders and is hoping with perhaps a little encouragement from her he may even ask her to Prom. They are already really good friends, so it is a possibility. That is presuming they all get out of this classroom alive! 

Unlikely friendships are made, such as Gin and one of the cheer squad that she considers, mentally calls and occasionally verbally slips and calls her “barbie”. They share secrets with each other and then by checking on the other students individually, they learn other secrets about those students. Gin hands her phone over to one of the cheer squad that is having panic attacks. Between them they do their best to attend injuries, cope with scared jocks and nerds as if it is something, they do everday of the week.

The fact the shooter keeps coming back to their classroom to try to get into it to shoot them all adds to their scary situation. They can hear the shooter walking and shooting in the school hallway and in the cafeteria and in the surrounding classrooms.

I did enjoy reading the book and at points I seriously didn’t want to put it down! Though there were occasions within the book I felt I wanted more. Maybe a few chapters from the points of view of classmates trapped within other rooms or even the parents and loved ones of the students outside the school, or the SWAT team sent to take care of the shooter.

My immediate thoughts upon the book finishing was a kind of shock. I was a bit like what? That’s it? I was scrolling on wanting more.

To finally sum up this book was made up of part text, news bulletins and then Ginny & school friends. I found it an interesting read....not sure exactly what I had expected.....I just felt I wanted more....maybe about who the shooter really was and why he did what he did. As well as who the 12 dead were....not sure what was missing I wanted a bit more. Having said that the book was Gin’s story of what she felt that day, how she interacted with the other students along with the memories from her past that kept her calm under extreme pressure.
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This book was amazing.  It was heartbreaking, but a book like this needs to be written.  I found myself wondering what I would do in this situation.  I also found that this was a different perspective that needs to be shared.
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This book is really scary, with how real it felt. The characters felt like real people and the plot was really well done. Overall I really enjoyed reading this one.
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I have always loved books about school shootings because I feel that I get insight into what a school shooting is like from different people's perspective. This book I believe does a great job to shows the perspective of a person who lives a hard life but is not ready to die. While the book could have included more content regarding before and after the shooting, I believe that the book was really good.
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I am quite disappointed by this book. 

My biggest problem with it is the main character, she is incredibly selfish and unbearable (during the lockdown, she basically criticizes EVERYBODY in the classroom but says "she is not going to let the shooter mess with her plans for prom" ??). A lot of things seemed to be too much to feel "real" which made me think this story was a big joke and full of non-sense.

However, I  liked the tweets at the end of each chapter and I'm sure the author can do better because the writing was pretty good and fluid.

BUT, if someone wants to read a book about school shootings, AVOID THIS BOOK.
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Ginny's life stops on a dime when a shooter shows up to her high school one Monday morning. She is in lockdown with her crush and a substitute teacher along with many others; her crush is wounded. Ginny finds herself gearing up with Kayla, a popular girl, trying to keep the rest of their classmates alive regardless of the horrors they're facing. During this time Ginny begins to question her life choices. Has she been judging people too harshly? Will she make it to her prom? Will her last conversation with her mom be the fight that they had before school? One thing Ginny knows for sure is that regardless of the outcome her life will never be the same.

I am a sucker for young adult novels that are about school shootings. For some reason I am always drawn to them like a moth to light. I am very thankful that NetGalley and Common Deer Press gifted me with this advanced reader's copy. It was a very easy and short read (I finished it within 2 hours) even though it is about a very heavy topic and one that is becoming more and more prominent in today's society. This story follows Ginny's journey in staying alive and keeping her classmates as calm as possible in a situation that none of them have ever thought that they would have to face. It was a story that I found myself easily sucked into and I couldn't put it down until I knew what happened to the children trapped in that classroom. 

On Goodreads I rated this book a 3/5 because although I really enjoyed the story I felt like there was something missing. There were no answers as to who was behind this tragedy and why they felt inclined to do it. There was a lot of character growth within Ginny during the story but readers are left wondering what became of her after that horrible day she spent locked in a classroom with people she barely knew. However, it was a quick read and had you hooked from the first page. I also really liked that I could envision what was happening like a movie in my head. The writing was very detailed and clear without getting bogged down on unnecessary details that have the ability to weigh a novel down. 

This book will be released in October 2019 so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
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I was not quite ready for this book.  I think this book straddled the line between young adult fiction and fiction about young adults.  I graduated high school before school shootings were the norm, when they still left us mourning for days and before we respond by simply saying, “another one?” Is this book an accurate description of what might happen to the victims of a school shooting?  I don’t know but I do know it did help me think about the situation differently.
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We're being told the events in a classroom during a school shooting told from the perspective of Ginny who learns she shouldn't judge a book by its cover and finds friendships with unlikely people.
I am not too sure about this reads away quite easily and did keep my attention throughout. The various groups in class were rather stereotyped, the responses (none at all) to a teacher and class mate being shot a bit weird. Personally I think the book would have been better if it had been longer, you can hardly connect to any of the characters, outside of Ginny and Kayla.  Everybody stayed in his own cocoon playing phone games, the writer even says that everyone has changed after that day, but that's not what you take with you after reading the book...the intensity is not there and the personality backgrounds are severely lacking. All in all...I don't think I would recommend it cause I feel there are books out there that do these types of horrible situations more justice.
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This story is about a high school shooting that takes place in Canada. The story sets loose in the classroom, from the perspective of our main character Ginny, who when we meet her, is already in protective position under her desk; her favorite boy shot and bleeding & her teacher as well. 
She flashes back and forth between her life, her morning, as she desperately tries to reach her mom by text. 
It's such a relevant story, especially for us in the US, where school ONCE was a safe refuge for children no matter their home life, but not anymore. Now there are active shooter drills and the anxiety of my generation was the cold war (will we get nuked?) And is now is - will my classmate (teacher, janitor, etc) shoot me or blow up my school????? 
The author did a great job of character development, including highlighting Ginny's narrow assumptive views of her fellow classmates. Ginny finds out that people are so much more than we assume they are on the outside - you never know what they've been through, or what they know, or where their heart lies. I think she was trying to show that part of our frustrations and hateful feelings towards one another in society stems from our biases and stereotypes. If we can learn to get to know one another and support one another, perhaps we would have less school shootings? Or at least we could get along better as a society. This book gave lots of food for thought along these lines... I highly recommend it.
This is out in October 2019 by @commondeer_press in Toronto.
Thanks to the publisher and #netgalley for providing an early reader's e-copy.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of #NotReadyToDie for an honest review.
TW: Death (violent/sickness), Self-Harm, Sexual Assault, Homophobia, Physical Abuse
Pros:  Short in length, the character of Kayla
Cons: Everything else
I've read a few books on school shootings, and I like seeing how different authors tackle the subject.  I've read good takes on the subject.  This was not a good take.  I really don't like leaving negative reviews, but I have to give my honest thoughts.
The main character, Ginny, is just not a good human.  She's unlikable, and even though she's gone through some stuff, it's hard to sympathize with her character.  If Kayla, or even MJ had been the MC, I think that would have improved this book greatly.
We all know school shootings are a reality, terrible as they are.  This book came off as extremely superficial and unbelievable.  I find it difficult to believe that the 'jocks' are so oblivious to what is going on (or don't even care) especially after the substitute teacher gets shot in the stomach, and a classmate comes in after being shot in the leg.  Classmates are live-tweeting the situation and giving updates/asking for help(believable), but mentioning how they're going to win the football game on Friday and using hashtags like #footballforlife and #cheersquad (I stared at that for a few seconds). Ginny is more worried about who is going to take her to prom and getting upset about Kayla's cute guy friend, even after having faced some pretty horrific things. Everyone is stereotyped, from the Jocks, to the Air-Headed Cheerleaders, to the Nerds.  Have we really not moved beyond that?  
I think this story is salvageable, but as it is now, it comes off as offensive and insensitive, and if were a number of other topics I probably wouldn't be bothered as much.  When you're talking about something as serious as a school shooting, and trying to present your story as serious and realistic, it's just bad.
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An incredibly emotional read. The character really caught your heart. Great use of tweets and texts, helping to really feel how slowly time was passing, and making it all feel very real
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#NotReadyToDie by Cate Carlyle
Thank you to Netgalley for the ebook to review
Release date 10/07/2019
A quick read that pulls you into the world of chaos and realistic horror immediately. Just when you think your life is safe, going to school is safe, sitting at your desk is safe, the worst thing happens. What do you do when your world shifts? How do you handle panic? The main character Ginny narrates her thoughts and feelings and the situation around here. It seems as time ticks by so slowly as she tried to help those in need. A terrible tragedy that forces old pains to come up. 
This story line is a very interesting and unfortunately common idea. Unfortunately only because things like this happen more often than we realize or want to realize. We like to believe that our world is safe for us and our children. We can’t control what happens around us or those we love. You never know how much you can take and what you can do ima crisis, until you are in one. Normally a quiet and kept to herself girl, Ginny gets up and helps those around her. Whether it be comforting words and gestures or reinforcement. 
The book read quickly and powerfully but I think it could have had a little more build up. I was invested enough to finish in one sitting and wanting to know what happens next.
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This book wasn’t what I was hoping for. It is very short and for me personally, a little too short to dive in to such an important topic. I wish it had more development, however I did like the writing very much.
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