Synopses & Reviews
In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was — that I couldn't stick around — and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart — obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made — and the light in us all that never goes out.
"Quick's books typically revolve around characters who don't fit in, don't understand their place in the world, and face daunting obstacles. Leonard Peacock is another such individual, a teenager who feels let down by adults and out of step with his sheeplike classmates. Foreseeing only more unhappiness and disappointment in life (and harboring a secret that's destroying him), Leonard packs up his grandfather's WWII handgun and heads to school, intending to kill his former best friend and then himself. First, though, he will visit the important people in his life: an elderly cinephile neighbor, a musically gifted classmate, the teacher of his Holocaust studies class, and a homeschooled girl who passes out religious tracts in the train station. Quick's attentiveness to these few key relationships and encounters gives the story its strength and razorlike focus. Its greatest irony is that, despite Leonard's commitment to his murder-suicide plan, he appreciates and values life in a way that few do. Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await. Ages 15up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Quick's use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard's tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma." School Library Journal, starred review
"Quick's attentiveness to these few key relationships and encounters gives the story its strength and razorlike focus....Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Over the course of one intense day (with flashbacks), Leonard's existential crisis is delineated through an engaging first-person narrative supplemented with footnotes and letters from the future that urge Leonard to believe in a 'life beyond the übermorons' at school. Complicated characters and ideas remain complicated, with no facile resolutions, in this memorable story." The Horn Book
"[T]he novel presents a host of compelling, well-drawn, realistic characters — all of whom want Leonard to make it through the day safe and sound." Kirkus
"Books like Quick's are necessary....We should be grateful for a book that gets kids, and the leaders they'll become, thinking about the problem now." The New York Times
About the Author
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and three young adult novels, Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Little, Brown & Co.). His work has received many honors — including a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention — been translated into many languages, and called "beautiful...first-rate" by The New York Times Book Review. The Weinstein Company and David O. Russell have adapted The Silver Linings Playbook into a film starring Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Matthew lives in Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Alicia Bessette. His website is www.matthewquickwriter.com.