Thursday, May 1, 2008
Lockdown by Diane Tullson
I finished Diane Tulson's Lockdown on the ferry while on route to speak at the Kamloops Young Author's Conference. What a dynamo writer that woman is, and prolific too! (See reviews of some of her earlier books on this blog) Books about high school shooters are mushrooming, almost as fast as the real life incidents that inspire them. Tulson's is specifically aimed at reluctant readers as part of the Orca Book Publishers Soundings series. I suspect it will find a wider audience given recent events, particularly in the U.S.
The thing that amazed me is how adept Tullson is at the telling of a complex story with few words. She wastes no time, drawing readers into the world of high school hurt where you can be sure that if one kid bears the brunt of a joke, another kid is just relieved it isn't directed at them. This is the breeding ground for one of the scariest phenomenon you can imagine in high schools today; school shooters. Even more impressive is the fact that Tullson works her magic with characters who ring true; whether it's Josh who tips over the edge after one more bullying incident, Adam who is a quasi friend who ends up on the wrong side of a locked door running for cover, Natalie who plays a part in pushing Josh over the edge, Zoe, the girl who lights up rooms but is caught in the crossfire, or Mr. Connor, the principal who'll literally go the extra mile to help kids get through torturous time.
Lockdown is a quick read, but I suspect it's chilling message will linger long after you've put it down, and so it should. Read it today.