Watson, C.G. 2007. Quad.
Quad has multiple narrators and a non-chronological framework. You might think that would make it harder to read--to grasp. After all, for the first twenty or thirty pages you're not quite sure what's going on. There is a new narrator for each chapter, all these new characters--these new names--are being tossed about. And the 'action' is unfolding on at least two different days. But once the reader is patient enough and every narrator has had a turn, then things begin to come together, to make sense. The premise is simple: one of these students, one of the narrators' classmates, has decided to take revenge on their classmates. Someone is out for vengeance and they've brought a gun. How this becomes complex? Well, each narrator, each circle of friends, has motive to seek crazy revenge. All of them are angry, most are bitter. All see high school labels and social hierarchy's as evil for the most part. The "bad guys" the popular kids come across as true villains. With their cruel jokes and laughter, their mean pranks, I dare the reader to have sympathy for these bad guys. While not all narrators are equally likable, most are portrayed as human--fallible but likable just the same. The suspense of who lives, who dies, and the unveiling of the identity of the shooter and victim(s)...will keep you reading.
This is an emotional book. There are so many different levels of frustration, anger, hatred, disappointment, bitterness, etc presented. But the reason I enjoyed this one so much was that it dissected the minute details of high school society. It examined cause and effect. It showed how daily interactions can be perceived, received, both negatively and positively. On the one hand, a kind word, a smile, a compliment, could make the world of difference to someone. On the other hand, it shows that a mean glare, a laugh, a snicker, a whispered insult, a cruel note, a simple prank could break someone apart. Actions have consequences as this book shows. It also shows how thin a line there is between sanity and insanity...keeping it together versus having an emotional breakdown. And of course, it shows that being a teenager is a volatile experience emotionally. One day alone can be full of emotional ups and downs and you can be all over the place in no time.