People Kill People by Elle Hopkins – Review


Author: Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 4th 2018

Pages: 431

Price: $25.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Someone will shoot. And someone will die.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins tackles gun violence and white supremacy in this compelling and complex novel.
People kill people. Guns just make it easier.
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?
One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

First Sentence

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”


I landed upon this book while watching some random youtube review video that I usually watch aimlessly because I know I won’t read any of the books, but I was actually intrigued with People Kill People because of the books realism. It’s not often I see a book that is so direct with such sensitive and controversial subjects like gun laws in America. Although I do not live in the US, I am still very well informed on the gun laws they withhold thanks to media and the many research projects we do at school. I’m also constantly hearing about school shootings and protests going on down there.

What should be illegal is hate. For you. For me. For anyone different.
-Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

We don’t have any hunters in my family and I don’t know anyone who owns a firearm. I’ve seen a gun once or twice, hidden in the belt of the schools police officer, but I don’t even think he carries it around all the time… the only time iv’e seen actual firearms are at museums, other than that, I’m relying merely on TV shows. I don’t know what it’s like to be constantly under the pressure of such dangerous weaponry, so, I thought that by picking up this book, I could put myself in the perspective of someone who sees guns all the time and, hopefully, understand what is going on next door much easier than before.

This novel is a mix of short stories split up through the book, and poems. I liked the mix because I could get a break from the heavy parts, and then we could go back to them after I’d had a chance to really think about them. Although, the amount of different short stories got sorta confusing. There were so many characters and I forgot their names and who did what and also they are all related somehow, which made it so much more confusing. Even at the end of the book, I wasn’t really sure who was who.

“Despite every claim otherwise, he’s a coward. And a coward with a gun is treacherous.”
― Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

Once again, the realism of the stories and poems made it all the more interesting. I liked how we got to see the different point of views of each character, some of them minorities, part of white supremacy groups, in the police force, or as just someone who knows someone with a firearm. I just wished that maybe the stories weren’t as mixed with each other and the poems because I got confused, but other than that, a really great read!

Final Review/Recommendation 


I’d recommend this book to anyone like myself who is uninformed and unexperienced with firearms a chance to be on the right side of the fight. This novel emphasizes the importance of restrictions and laws when it comes to such dangerous weaponry that, at the hands of the wrong people, can turn extremely fatal. I’d also recommend this book to someone who is interested in activism because a lot of inspiration can be found within these pages that could help you make a difference.

Maybe the people who support the current laws for guns should also check this one out… just so that they can experience a bit of what others have had to go through thanks to the feeble laws, and to see that, not all people have good intentions with guns. Guns are after all, meant to hurt of kill.

See, the absolute truth is people do kill people. A gun just makes it easier.

-Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People