Parents' Guide to

Give a Boy a Gun

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Intense school-shooting book will trigger heated discussion.

Give a Boy a Gun Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 10+

Give A Boy A Gun

I read this book when I was 10, and I was fine. My school recommended it, meaning it is alright for children. It really depends on how mature someone is. It mentions sex and drinking a couple times, but mainly revolves around a theme of violence. A child should not read this if they get nightmares easy, or are jittery when it comes to violence. Otherwise, this book is excellently written, informational, and amazing.

This title has:

Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Horrific and disturbing. Definitely NOT for students without adult or teacher guidance.

This book has graphic descriptions of violence and should not be read by adolescents or teens without guidance. The first page of the book is a suicide note from one of the boys. The second page of the book is a graphic description of what happens to the human brain when a bullet enters it. There is a mention of Gary hanging from a flagpole, and there is a first-person discussions of a teen's drug use while in school- not to mention the one boy's kneecaps being blown away during the rampage at the school dance. It ends when one boy shoots himself in the head and the other is beaten into a coma by the bullies who tormented the two of them. Fun times. This book is seriously disturbing, and there are better ways to teach impressionable adolescents about bullying and school gun violence. No child under 18 should read this book without guidance from a knowledgeable adult. Without guidance, a young person (who may have been mercilessly bullied himself) might identify with the characters and see violence as a valid choice. We can do better than this.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (13):

Author Todd Strasser does a frighteningly effective job of making his readers think -- about guns, bullying, and more -- and the result is one very disturbing book. Some of the ways it is disturbing are clearly intentional; others are less clear. Readers ready for the intense material will find a provocative and compelling novel certain to trigger much heated discussion. This book could be useful to high school teachers and administrators looking to raise gun control awareness among students.

Book Details

  • Author: Todd Strasser
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: January 1, 2000
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 146
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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