An in-depth look at the group of teenagers who sparked a movement after the February 14th, 2018 shooting at their high school. 


The New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers a deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting who pushed back against the NRA and Congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for Our Lives movement.

Emma Gonzalez called BS. David Hogg called out Adult America. The uprising had begun. Cameron Kasky immediately recruited a colorful band of theatre kids and rising activists and brought them together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.

Dave Cullen, who has been reporting on the epidemic of school shootings for two decades, takes us along on the students’ nine-month odyssey to the midterms and beyond. With unrivaled access to their friends and families, meetings and homes, he pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate portraits of the quirky, playful organizers that have taken the nation by storm. 

Cullen brings us onto the bus for the Road to Change tour showing us how these kids seized an opportunity. They hit the highway to organize the young activist groups mushrooming across America in their image. Rattled but undeterred, they pressed on in gun country even as adversaries armed with assault weapons tailed them across Texas and Utah trying to scare them off. 

The Parkland students are genuinely candid about their experiences. We see them cope with shattered friendships and PTSD, along with the normal day-to-day struggles of school, including AP exams and college acceptances. Yet, with the idealism of youth they are mostly bubbling with fresh ideas. As victims refusing victimhood, they continue to devise clever new tactics to stir their generation to action while building a powerhouse network to match the NRA’s. 

This spell-binding book is a testament to change and a perceptive examination of a pivotal moment in American culture. After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the MFOL kids are mapping a way out. They see a long road ahead, a generational struggle to save every kid of every color from the ravages of gun violence in America. Parkland is a story of staggering empowerment and hope, told through the wildly creative and wickedly funny voices of a group of remarkable kids.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Nonfiction, Crime, History, Politics

Publisher: Harper

Expected Publication Date: February.12.2019

*Thank you to the author and publisher for providing an ARC of this book via a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book provided*

So it’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts in regards to this book. From the first few pages, this book had me sobbing. And I couldn’t figure out why. Why  was this book affecting me so much? Then one day it clicked. After Sandy Hook I was disillusioned. Because if dead babies don’t thaw your cold, greedy, gun-loving heart, then nothing will. And yet here are these teens, refusing to be further victimized and changing the narrative. These kids are doing what the generations before them should have done a long time ago. They are standing up, demanding action be taken, and filling people like me with hope.

Dave Cullen spent a lot of time observing, and speaking to these young activists. His personal experiences covering these massacres over the years and following the MFOL movement from city to city, brings unparalleled insight into this incredible work of journalism.

Now, this book, isn’t like Columbine. Rather, its focus is on the survivors. Their resilience. The way they refused to let the Valentine’s Day massacre at their high school be just another one-second blip in the media. How this group of grieving and traumatized kids decided to take action. 

As a millenial adult I remember Columbine. I also remember that after that massacre, active shooter drills/lockdown drills were implemented. For my Gen Z brother, he has never known life without them. Those drills have been a part of his entire school life. Right along with earthquake and fire drills. I feel like my generation just kind of accepted it. There’s nothing we can do about it, let’s move on. But the next generation sees it differently. 

Getting an insider look at the kids behind the March for Our Lives movement, you realize how incredibly fed up they are. How frustrated they are. How tough, and incredibly intelligent they are. They realize they don’t have all the answers. THEY DON’T WANT TO TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY. But they demand some kind of action be taken to prevent another mass shooting from happening again. 

I believe these kids can get it done. Because if growing up on Harry Potter movies has taught me anything, it is that a group of teenagers can handle themselves well enough to take down their foe. Voldemort, who?
RATING: 5/5 stars

Recommend? Yes!! Read Columbine and Parkland back-to-back and you’ll quickly realize why this is an important, and timely book!

6 thoughts on “Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen

  1. Because if dead babies don’t thaw your cold, greedy, gun-loving heart, then nothing will. – hit the nail on the head. I was shocked to find out that more hadn’t been done until this movement, and I’m so glad to see that they realised this is enough, this shouldn’t be the reality, because children should never have to expect that their school, where they’re supposed to be safe, to be turned into a war zone. I’m lucky that I’m British because if my little sister and my young cousins had to go through what your little brother does, I don’t think I’d feel sane. It’s the libertarians who worry me because they’re so attached to their guns, hunting and way of life that they will choose this lifestyle over the lives of young children… and then claim that if more people were vetted, then this wouldn’t happen, well, it would be unrealistic to have to vet an entire nation especially considering that problematic issues that an individual faces might occur even after being vetted. Selfish selfish selfish. That’s like saying slavery is okay as long as slaves are treated right and their masters are vetted to ensure they won’t harm their slaves. Okay, that might be far, but still… jeez, lives are being lost. Granted they could turn to knives instead, knife crime is a massive problem in London, but it would be difficult to escalate knife crime in a school as compared to possessing a gun that contains several bullets and the ability to shoot long distance. Even with Brexit, I’m happier to be a Brit than an American. Thank God, and no offence to other Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol no offense taken. I completely understand what you mean. You know, schools in “urban” communities have metal detectors? It’s nuts. Street violence infiltrated schools a long time ago. Now we have a whole other kind of violence. Honestly, I feel like this issue is only getting attention now because of race. All of a sudden white folks are realizing that their kids aren’t safe at school. Something that kids going to school in the hood realized decades ago.


      1. We do have metal detectors in secondary schools, but my school was in an urban area, so I have no idea if private schools do or do not. In fairness, knife crime is pretty prevalent in London, but if the same measures aren’t applied to more affluent areas, it’s a bit of a slap in the face. Voices weren’t raised when it was affecting white people – God, it bothers me when white people only speak on issues or try to claim diversity points only when the issues directly affect them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Blegh it’s all very enraging. I’ve noticed that the public schools around me are all fenced in. But the private school are all open. It’s easy to walk on and off campus. Must be nice to not have to worry about your safety at school.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, wow, I’m feeling like we have it really lucky here in the U.K. and it’s strange because it’s the US after all that’s having school shootings… and yet, wow. Ok. Unless you’re rich, poorer peoples lives simply do not matter it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

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