Great firt time novel. Mixture of Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye, with a little Japanese twist. A very interesting read.
This book is a MUST READ.
Nobody wanted to believe it was real . . . that a school like ours could actually exist." Since its takeover by Ridley, a fifth-year senior who uses the school (and its administrators) to run a drug operation, MLK High School has become a "seventh ring of Hell." Daily survival depends on students' combat training, weapons, and custom-sewn, protective clothing, which Gattis illustrates in frequent drawings. Sophomore Jen describes Ridley's demise, which begins when her cousin, Jimmy, an international martial-arts champion, arrives. The inconceivably graphic violence (organs are ripped out, bodies split open) explodes with the feverish pace and clarity of a video game, but Gattis anchors the bloodshed with Jen's story at home--her sexually charged relationship with Jimmy and grief over her torn family. The gore and horror are gratuitous, but Gattis creates a nightmarish, confrontational, and fascinating world, drawing from the mystique of martial arts and comic books, that forces readers to consider societal fears about youth and violence. Like Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho (1990), this may well attract a cult following. Gillian Engberg
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