I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I have been a fan of Ellen Hopkins’s work for awhile now (mostly when I was in early high school). When I saw she was releasing the book People Kill People, I took a shot in the dark, asked for an ARC, and about 2 weeks later a (signed) ARC of People Kill People came in the mail!
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?
One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?
One thing about Hopkins’s work is that she always has these super intense characters – always something messed up in all of their lives. Well, this book is no exception. And, I’m going to admit, when I was a little younger, I used to eat that stuff up. But, when I started this novel, I wasn’t feeling it at first. I was like how is it that all of these characters have some intense thing going on with them? Isn’t this playing the stereotype?
For example, the list of some of the characters’ issues included:
- Teen pregnancy
- Being a part of a white-supremacist group
- Having a parent deported
The list goes on. And, so, in the beginning, I was a little shocked that all of these characters with such deep issues could all be related to each other somehow, and it did off-put me. But, as the work got deeper, I started to like it more and more, and realized that this all intentional.
So, the whole premise behind this is you know someone is going to die, you just don’t know who. The novel goes at an example of how putting firearms in the wrong people’s hands can lead to catastrophe. While I, obviously, won’t spoil the ending here, let me just say that I did not see the ending coming. And sometimes that’s good and sometimes…not. But, in this case it was phenomenal. Because of the ending, it brought the entire point she was trying to make into perspective, and shot this book up, rating wise.
Without these characters and their deep flaws, it’s hard to put everything into focus. In terms of political standpoint, some of them are hard left, some are hard right, some don’t really have an opinion about gun rights, but once that gun goes off, everyone has the same opinion: it should have never happened and what can we do to prevent this in the future(?). And, I think that is the exact point Hopkins was trying to make.
Another thing I like about this book is that the majority of it is written in second person, which is something you don’t see a lot of and is something that was exceeding well written and something I enjoyed.
In the end, whether you’re hard right or left on gun rights, this is a fantastic book to read. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to read this before it hit the shelves.