Reviews of books I've found to be really rather quite spectacular
Paul is your typical, middle of the road, middle of the pack, Catholic Comp student. This makes him an easy target for the sadistic school bully Roth. His usual MO is keep your head down, ignore them, and they’ll move on. However, one day Roth turns the table and incorporates Paul into one of his evil plans. Paul soon finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place, when Roth gives him a knife for safe keeping. He must choose whether to do the right thing and risk becoming ostracized again or be one of the lads and face the consequences.
This was a really great UK YA book dealing with universal issues but it is also something that is extremely prevalent in our UK schools - if we are to believe the papers anyway. I have been out of those hallways for quite a while now so I couldn’t say for sure.
The Knife That Killed Me was a fast paced story with no frills - just some cold hard truths. The main one being, if you’ve got a weapon, you’ll probably end up using it no matter what you say. You will then have to face the consequences. This is something that needs to be hammered home over and over again to our young and vulnerable.
Anthony McGowan did a really nice job of showing the inner conflict of the average teenager through Paul. Maybe the baddie - Roth - was overly bad. Then again, we all know kids can be cruel, so maybe Roth was an accurate depiction of the noughteens (is that what we’re calling this decade?) bully? I was lucky in that my schools were never like this but I’m sure there will be many readers who can relate to Paul’s story. However, we definitely had characters like Shane and his gang at our school and a teacher eerily similar to Mrs Eel!
If I were an English or Drama teacher, I would definitely try to plan a few lessons around The Knife That Killed Me. It provides a wealth of discussion points and the twist at the end means it would stick with the students for a long time.