Near Occasions

Near Occasions - Christian M. Frank My reaction, more-or-less upon finishing this book. "What the crap! What the crap! You can't end it like that!" Book six had better come out faster than book five did. I would like to note that I didn't actually read this as the kindle edition, I read it as the paperback, but for some reason Goodreads' version of this edition has no cover art, and like cover art. My review contains unhidden spoilers for the previous books.

I was really excited to finally get J.P.'s POV. Before he was just the comedic relief, but now we see that he's actually a really great character with real problems. As the youngest of ten children, he feels overlooked, which is largely why he has spent the other books pulling pranks and drawing attention to himself.

Liz was the other narrator, and her POV was also very interesting. In other books I usually found Liz to be unpleasant and fairly unlikable. Now, having heard things from her perspective she has joined Allie and J.P. as one of my favorite characters. She's strong, independent and curious, but she's also uncertain, insecure and self-deprecating. These character flaws are ones that we were never aware of when we were hearing about her from the other characters, and they make her much more relatable. There were still times when she bugged me, when she was impulsive in ways that really did hurt other people, but at least I know she didn't intend to hurt them.

Brian was showing his usual amount of tact and kindness--none. I liked Brian before book 3 when I heard his POV. Now I find him frustrating, clueless and irritating. I thought that he would been better, having learned that Liz has a crush on him but noooo... I thought that he would not have a crush on Mary Summers after their last interaction but noooo... And seriously, he asked Liz if it was okay if he hung out with Mary. Really? And thought that Liz was telling the truth when she said she didn't care? Ugh! How can he be so stupid?

George was a fairly minor character in this book. He really only got J.P. out of some trouble and didn't get along with James.

Celia was in this book less as well. As usual she was being the peace-keeper and trying to hold everything together. I felt so bad for her at the end.

Allie was a good character. I enjoyed seeing her develop, as she, apparently by force of will, became friends with James. I'm glad that she tried to help Liz, the way she knew how, to get over her insecurities, and I'm glad that she gave up her shooter-investigation. As she said, it wasn't good for her.

James is now the only main character whose POV we haven't heard yet. It's understandable, because if we did hear his point of view than the mystery would be greatly diminished. I really enjoyed seeing him open up to Allie, then Liz, and in some ways I was disappointed with the turn his character took toward the end. We got to hear some of his back-story, but we still know very little about him I'll be honest though, I thought there was a very good possibility that James was the shooter all the way back in the first book when he fake-shot Allie in the woods. I mean, his loss of temper certainly did make it look likely, but still, I hope the next book brings some more James-character-development.

We get a few glimpses into the shooter's head, and I must say he is creepy, creepy, creepy. "I am God." "The plan--my plan--it's made me God. And it truly did in a sense. His will had become reality. The supposedly powerful ones--the cops, the FBI, the TV stations--they all did his bidding He wanted to be dead to them, and so they pronounced him dead./Heh. Just like the 'real' God." And right there is one of my arguments why James isn't the shooter. He believes very strongly in God. I mean, he could be faking it, but, is he? The shooter is also, as we know, scary obsessed with Allie. "She had never been part of the plan, but now she was all he thought of: horrified, astonished, awestruck, trembling before him. He needed her to worship him./But she worshipped someone else now." I already knew that the shooter would be someone the characters knew, but his mention of "seeing her Facebook posts" really made that sink in.

For other characters we have Jacinta and Mary Summers, Isabel Reyes, Athen, Miranda Costain, Flynt and Brad (why are Mary and Isabel almost always mentioned with both first and last names, while Jacinta, Athen and Miranda are usually only called by their first names, and Flynt is mostly only called by his last name?) I liked Jacinta and would have liked to see more of her. Mary had a reason to dislike Liz, but her behavior still wasn't very loving (I guess she has her mother for a roll model.) I really feel bad for Isabel, especially after what Liz did to her, and I would like to see Liz apologize for that. I liked Athen in the last book. While still likeable, I found him more irritating this time round, but that was probably just because J.P. was narrating. Miranda was as unpleasant as usual. I really liked the character development in both Flynt and Brad. This is the first time (that I remember anyway, I really should re-read books 1 and 2) that we've met Brad. He was introduced and rounded out very well. Flynt we knew before, albeit not very well. He was just one of Tyler's lackeys. Now he was reintroduced to us as almost a new character. The shooting and Tyler's death affected him greatly, and I really liked seeing him turn from the stereotypical bully's henchman character, to one that actually seemed real.

The story was intriguing. It's interesting that the John Paul 2 High books could really be called the John Paul High Mystery Series. The books have all been setting up the question; who is the shooter. I am still not convinced that they've found him, to be perfectly honest. I heard or read somewhere that mysteries are one of the hardest books to write because your readers will be doing everything they can to try and figure out the answer to the mystery before the characters, but if they do then they feel cheated. I'll add my own opinion to that; if the answer is so out there that you don't even know the culprit, then your readers also feel cheated (this is one reason why so many people were disappointed with [b: The Private School Murders|17333276|The Private School Murders (Confessions, #2)|James Patterson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1373406704s/17333276.jpg|24064830]) These are reasons why I am slightly worried about what will happen next in the books. if James really is the shooter, then I'll be somewhat disappointed, because I'd already guessed that, but if he isn't, I can't think of any other character who could be the shooter, without being disappointed because I wasn't well enough acquainted with him before.

Okay, this may be farfetched, but I also sort of think that because Mr. Costain refused to expel James (and I thought his reasoning was sound) and so many parents, even George's mom and J.P.'s parents and Brian's dad walked away from the school, James will be acquitted, or otherwise proved not to be the shooter, because then the parents will feel guilty and foolish for not listening to Mr. Costain and Mrs. Simonelli. That's just my theory though.

Here's another reason (at least in my mind) why James can't be the shooter. In book four we were given foreshadowing, via Nikki, that the shooter would get to Allie. This could be interpreted as what happened later that book, with Allie running from Bickerstaff, but Bickerstaff was focused on hurting Liz, Allie just got in the way, so I do think that Nikki's foreshadowing ought to apply to the shooter.

I hope the next book doesn't take too long to come out, because that ending was not okay.