Release Date - September 28, 2021
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
When Bryan Bliss wrote Thoughts & Prayers in 2020, he hoped for change. We all, well most of us, want to see change. Then Uvalde happened, the shooting at a busy grocery store in Buffalo happened, the 4th of July parade shooting happened. There have been shootings at a busy fun park, a Chattanooga night club, a NYC subway, and that's just a small portion of the list.
I've been the parent on the other end of the phone hearing a child say, "We're in lock down. We don't know much other than there's a guy in the parking lot and police are here. Just in case, we love you." That ended peacefully. I cannot imagine being the parent where it doesn't end peacefully. It breaks my heart.
Thoughts & Prayers is a story told from three perspectives. Claire, Eleanor, and Brezzen were all hiding together under a stairwell while a shooter killed several of their peers. All three lives were changed that day, and they can never go back and un-see the events of that day. They cannot forget.
Claire's brother packed her up and moved her to Minnesota to start over far away from her live in North Carolina. Eleanor stayed, but she's become a bit of a target for her stance on guns, one that she didn't even mean to go viral. Brezzen hides in a world of an adventure game, Wizards & Warriors. All three teens is doing all they can to keep going when there's no chance of forgetting.
This book broke my heart. It's very detailed and the mom in me wanted to take each of these teens and hold them close. It's also hitting very close to home as so many of these mass shootings are in the press for a short while and then the world moves on. People don't necessarily forget, but they don't exactly remember more than the basics either. Sometimes, you actually do forget, too. There were 24 school shootings in 2021, can you remember the details of each one? You can be certain that the children and their families haven't forgotten.
Like many, I'm tired of the "thoughts and prayers" sentiment while no action is taken. Thoughts and prayers won't keep children from dying. When I was in high school, the random bomb threat - usually called in by Cliff and Sean to avoid an exam - were the only thing we encountered. Shortly before that point, Reagan stripped away much of the funding Carter's Mental Health Systems Act had granted. Do I have the answers? No, but I do know that the mental health system is messed up, and the easy access to guns that no one outside of a war needs isn't the solution. It's long-passed time for change and I'm right with the characters in this book, and the teens and their families i real-life who keep saying this very thing.
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