Title – Reunion
Author – Jeff Bennington
Publisher - nexGate
Date Published – April 15, 2011
# of pages – 335 pages (ARC)
Genres & Themes: Fiction, Supernatural, Thriller, School shootings, ghosts, PTSD, Contemporary
GoodReads – 28 Ratings, 4.64 Average Rating
Amazon.com – 11 Ratings, 4.75ish Average Rating
My Rating: 5/5
David Ray killed eight students and then turned the gun on himself. He thought the shooting and suicide would fix his world. It didn't. The massacre threw Tanner Khan and the other survivors into chaos.
Twenty years later, Tanner and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion to lay the past to rest. Although they suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray.
Once inside the old school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue, and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears and put the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare?
****This multi-genre thriller has, at times, elements of the supernatural, horror, romance, and certainly suspense, without disregard for the trauma and long term Post Traumatic Stress that many survivors will deal with the rest of their lives.
What I thought:
Let me begin by saying that I can’t do this book justice in the short amount of space that is THE REVIEW. The concepts presented here were too breath-taking, the characters too realistic, and the supernatural elements just the right touch of creepy, heart-pounding, other-worldly thrill ride. BUT I can tell you a bit about my experience that was my reading of REUNION.
David Ray and the school shooting – David Ray, the school shooter, is one of those characters I had a really hard time putting my feelings together for. I would despise him one moment and then the story would reveal something more about him and I’d feel really sorry for him. It went back and forth like that for the whole entire book. I don’t know why I think this is a good thing, but I do. Probably something to do with complex characters that make you think outside my comfort zone. As for the school shooting – it was so disturbing! I know any book about a school shooting would make me feel this way. But it’s more than just the idea here, it’s the writing too. It felt really cold and really calculated. I’m not sure how to describe what I was feeling here, except that if you’ve seen the movie Elephant, it was kind of like that. Succinct and to the point. Then on top of that you have all these XXX’s in handwritten font every time there is a break in the writing and there were chills running down my spine.
The other characters – First of all, they were all just so darn likeable. Of course, each of them have their flaws, but I just wanted to love them all the same. I felt like I could really connect with each and every one of the characters. They all had something fresh and interesting to say. They all experienced the same thing as kids in the school shooting, but of course, all in different ways. And each of them had to deal with that experience in their own way too. I think this is what I really got out of the book as a whole. The life of a school shooting victim 20 years later would likely all depend not just on how close they were to those who died or where they were in relation to the shooter, but also on what was going on in their life at the time of the shooting. What were their dreams and hopes? Who did they love? What was their attitude on life and relationships in general? And I think this is why it was so easy for me to relate to all of them. Because it’s not necessarily about the characters themselves, but the experience. And I think it’s quite easy to relate to that breaking point in your life where something happens that just changes everything. At least, that’s what I thought.
The supernatural thrill – No doubt about it, this book was thrilling! I loved the supernatural elements to the story. It kept me guessing, wondering if everything happening was REALLY happening or if maybe this was all just PTSD rearing it’s ugly head. And if it was all REAL, then wow, I NEEDED to know how it was all going to turn out. I was going to say it was “on the edge of your seat” material, but seriously, I kept ending up on the floor reading BESIDE my couch. The couch was too much of a distraction, whispering in my ear to “just relax” when all I wanted to do was to read as fast as I possibly could.
In short: If you’re remotely interested in thrillers, if you’re remotely interested in supernatural stories, if you’d love to see more stories about how victims cope with issues in the long term. If anything I said above interests you at all, I highly recommend this book to you!
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended to: See “in short” in the review section.
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