The high-compression stories in Peter Johnson’s hyper-readable Shot open in 4th gear and accelerate from there. Take “Pretty Girl,” which begins: “So you ask, ‘How could anyone so drop-dead gorgeous be afraid of mirrors?’” The considerable underlying art in these stories is matched by their fresh energy and flat-out fun. What this book has in common with Johnson’s poetry is his insistence that a writer gets down more than craft, that a work of art also entertain.
—Stuart Dybek, MacArthur fellow and author of The Coast of Chicago and I Sailed with Magellan
Nobody knows the dark chemistry of relationships better than Peter Johnson. In these gripping tales, Johnson gets right down to the real nitty-gritty. Love, hate, fear. All the elements of great fiction, in the hands of a master storyteller. Stories that will forever beat in the American heart.
—Rod Philbrick, Newbery Honor recipient and author of Freak the Mighty
Peter Johnson hits the bullseye with this memorable collection of linked short stories that examines the impact of a fatal shooting on a group of surviving teens. The dead-on results, both thought-provoking and compelling, will appeal equally to teen and adult readers.
—Michael Cart, Booklist columnist and author of From Romance to Realism: Fifty Years of Growth and Change in Young Adult Literature
In this novel, told from multiple points of view, critically acclaimed and award-winning author Peter Johnson paints a nuanced and convincing portrait of teenagers whose lives are forever changed—and linked—by the sound of a single gunshot. Johnson never apologizes for his characters’ thoughts or actions, and therein lies this novel’s brilliance. The brutal honesty and lack of self-reflection with which the narrators speak ring true and provide penetrating insights into the insecurity and insensitivity that permeate our lives. We are not only left wondering how we have created a society that continues to condone tremendous violence against women, but, like Maura, we are also left asking why we allow and even encourage people—especially young men—to remain irresponsible and uncaring.
—Padma Venkatraman, author of The Bridge Home and Climbing the Stairs
SHOT: A Novel in Stories
by Peter Johnson
$21.95, paperback, 174 pp