Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Nancy Garden
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Gray and his family move to Greenford after a few altercations at. Gray is optimistic that this move will be a fresh start, but things aren’t changing. Gray begins to be bullied, often called names and pushed around. As the school year goes on, the torture worsens. Things at home aren’t much better. As the emotional abuse of home and the physical abuse at school escalates, so does Gray’s anger. After months of torture, weeks of fantasizing, and a final blow in which the bullies run over Gray’s dog, Gray has had enough. He takes matters into his own hands by bringing one of his dad’s semi-automatic handguns to school. There, he kills and injures many of his torturers, but also a few classmates and even friends that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Nancy Garden’s novel about the devastating effects of bullying is poignant and powerful. Gray’s story is one of heartbreak, made all the more real by the fact that the story is in his perspective. Garden explores these traumatic topics with aplomb by giving readers a totally subverted perspective from the one normally seen in these types of books. And although readers will know that this book ends in a school shooting, they will find themselves hoping against hope that Gray can find another way to deal with his issues and anger. They’ll find themselves, if not on his side, at least in his shoes, a feat given how charged these types of stories can be. Overall, Endgame is a fierce, hard look at bullying, abuse, and the hopeless feeling of being trapped and alone that leads to such devastation and destruction.
*Contains moderate language and moderate violence.