Date of publication: August 6th, 2019
Genre: General Fiction
Terry Keys, USA Today bestselling author of Lie No More and The Missing pens his most captivating book to date. This is the heart-breaking story about a small-town boy who’d taken everything from everyone until he could take no more.
Seventeen-year-old Blaze Planter is a Jr. at Kilwade, High School.
His parents have recently divorced.
His grades are slipping.
His anger is growing with each day.
Relationships with his closest friends are failing.
Secrets about his life are being uncovered.
No one understands what he is going through.
And everyone who has betrayed him needs to be taught a lesson.
So now he stands with the one friend that has never betrayed him.
The one friend that does what he asks every time he squeezes the trigger.
The only friend that he can depend on.
Tragedies don’t just happen. The signs are simply overlooked every day until it’s too late.
After the read be sure to review the author’s note where resources for additional help are listed. There are also discussion questions to generate conversation & get adults and student’s talking.
Let me just start off by saying that no kid is ever born thinking one day I’m going to kill myselfThe Kilwade Tragedy by Terry Keys
Before I start this review, I do want to let you all know that this book is trigger heavy. The triggers are bullying, casual drug use, physical violence, online bullying, underage drinking, and the planning/execution of a school shooting in Texas. The Kilwade Tragedy isn’t a book for everyone, but it is a book that needs to be read. So, read with these triggers in mind.
I am not going to lie. The Kilwade Tragedy was a tough book to read. There were points where I wanted to put the book down.
The Kilwade Tragedy explores the events that led Blaze to do what he did. And what is revealed is frightening.
As a mother of school-age children, The Kilwade Tragedy struck a nerve with me. I am uneasy about sending my kids to school. Even though I know that their schools have upgraded their security measures. But the security measures don’t extend to recess, school trips or sporting events. So, yes, what happened at the end of the book chilled me. Reading that was my worst nightmare.
I was impressed with the research that the author did. At the same time, I was chilled. He was able to gain access to several different middle/high schools in his area. NO ONE ASKED WHY HE WAS THERE. I couldn’t believe it.
What saddened me the most about The Kilwade Tragedy is that Blaze was let down. He was screaming for help and kept getting brushed off. By the time his mother got him to a therapist, it was too late. He was already pushed past his breaking point.
The bullying scenes were heartbreaking. I liked how the author showed the escalation of the bullying. It went from name-calling to mental to physical over a year. I liked that the author showed how the school failed Blaze. Oh boy, did they ever. Because the bullies were on the football team, they chose to turn the other cheek until it was too late. When the police went to arrest the boys for assault, they chose to let one of the kids walk because of who his father was. Unfortunately, scenarios like that one are played out all over the country. A zero bullying policy only works if the staff chooses to enforce it for everyone.
The end of The Kilwade Tragedy was chilling. The speech that the principal gave is given too often. But, in this speech, the principal acknowledged that Blaze was failed. And he vowed that change would start with his school.
The author’s note included several links where people could go for help. He also had a question and answer prompt if the book would be read in book clubs.
As I mentioned above, this is a heartbreaking book to read. Reading about what lead a teenager to decide to do a school shooting was hard for me. But I needed to read it.
I would give The Kilwade Tragedy an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread The Kilwade Tragedy. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**