giving the first 100 of you my school shooting book

Posted on: 08/21/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s a sobering glimpse into a high school campus through the eyes of today’s teenagers and it releases this month in print! (you know… real books with actual pages!)   🙂

This new piece of fiction is titled Bystanders, and I thought I’d give away the print version to the first 100 of my U.S. blog readers who would love to read it… with one condition: you read it.  (Sorry those outside the U.S., I love you, I honestly just can’t afford the shipping. Buy the Kindle version!)

Seriously. And if you like it post about it! (literally a picture of the cover on Insta with your one sentence praise, or a Facebook post… whatever.)

It’s my first fiction novel (although my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide sure had elements of one) and I’m using it as a tool to open up meaningful conversation about bullying, faith, hypocrisy, self esteem, etc.

The story focuses on three kids: Kari, Michael, and Brett… and one of them is pushed beyond the tipping point. The language is PG-13 and the conversations are very real (I’ve had over 100 youth workers and teens screen the book for me). Many of these situations are based off of real accounts. It’s an eye-opening peek into bullying culture for youth workers and parents, and a great springboard for faith conversations with high school students.

If you’re in the U.S. and you’d like a copy, I’ll send you one free. Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Hit me with a comment below saying your name, city and U.S. state, and why you want to read the book.
  2. If you’re one of the first 100 U.S. people to respond below, then I’ll contact you and ask you for your address and mail this to you within the month.

And of the rest of you, you can grab the Kindle version today or keep watching for it to arrive on print (should be in the next month).

SIDE NOTE: If this topic of bullying interests you, stay tuned, because Focus on the Family is having me do a show with them November 1, the day my brand new book, The Bullying Breakthrough releases.

91 Replies to “giving the first 100 of you my school shooting book”

  1. Alan Buss, Verona, Wisconsin
    I would love to read your book! I am a public middle school principal, formerly a high school psychologist and associate principal. I am always looking for fresh insights into youth culture, particularly from a Christian perspective. Thanks!

  2. My name is Joshua Johnson, living in Halstead, KS. I am a former youth pastor and current school counselor. As such, I want to stay as much in touch with students and ways to help students as I can.

  3. Andrew S. – Indianapolis, IN
    I’m a youth pastor and a soccer coach at a local public high school. We actually had a shooting threat today. Praise God nothing came from it. I would like to read the book to get some insights from those who are involved in these situations first hand and to increase my knowledge on the situation. Thank you!

  4. Chris Soltis – Genoa, OH. I would love to read your book as I have many of your others! I’m a middle school teacher, military chaplain, and former pastor. I would love to be able to better connect with students and families regarding these topics. Thanks for all that you do!

  5. Alex Tufano, Hillsdale, New Jersey
    As a youth pastor, it’s heartbreaking to continuously read news stories about school shootings, violence, and bullying. It’s also shocking and sad to see how normal these things are for our students. I would love to read this book to get a better understanding of how these issues are impacting the students I serve.

  6. TJ Lewis from Arlington TX here. Sutherland Springs really woke us up here, both adults and students. I’d love to read your book to use to encourage an increasing number of kids and parents who I pastor who feel the fear. I praise God for what you’re doing. Thanks!

  7. Eric Groezinger, Cedar Rapids IA. As a youth pastor, I’d love to read this and then share it with some of my students to spark deeper conversations with them about how they can better reach out to and impact their peers at school in a positive, Gospel-centered way. Better if this book is read while consuming some deep dish Giordano’s? = )

  8. I’d actually like to give this as a gift to our awesome Youth Pastor. He is wonderful with the teens at our church and is involved in several of the schools in our area.

  9. I would love to read your book! I am an avid reader and I work with our church teens in our “Revolution” program. I try to stay in touch with what’s going on with our youth today. Thanks!

  10. Lisa Y–Grand Rapids, MI
    I am a children’s ministry director and am teaching a series about bullying this year. It sounds like your book would be a good resource for me as I’m developing my lessons for this series. I would like to have a realistic idea of what children and teens are facing in school regarding this topic so that my lessons will be up to date and relevant. I also plan on developing resources for parents to use.

  11. I would love to read this book. As a Ministry Director for Badgerland Youth for Christ in Wisconsin and father of three daughters I want to be aware and educate myself on our constant changing youth culture. Plus I enjoy reading your books and would be really interested in a fiction book that you wrote. Keep up the good work and thank you for you passion for kids!!

  12. I would love to read the final product after helping you with some of the editing! I think it is going to make a great impact on those who read it! – Tim Medley from FBC Childress, TX –

  13. Hey Jonathan!
    I’m a pastor in a small, central Illinois that is definitely struggling in a real way with the bullying issue. My students all have a foreboding sense that it’s just a matter of time before someone walks in with a gun. I’m working with my students to help them see that they can be the change, and reverse a toxic atmosphere into one of love and acceptance. I’d love to check your book out and see if it’s a resource I could use for them. Thanks!

    Jimmy Hammond
    Virden, IL

  14. Dustin – Chicago, IL

    I’m a youth pastor with students in 10 different high schools (and one home school). Every one of my students go through a different experience and none of them are like the one I grew up in. I loved zombie apocalypse and can’t wait to hear your take on this subject.

  15. I would love to read this book because I work at a school and the fear of all of these school shootings plays through my head daily. Also I am witness to the bullying behaviors on a daily basis, so sad.

  16. I am very interested in reading this new book from you and sharing with my high school daughter. She has a strong faith and a very supportive small group at church. I think they have the opportunity to serve as great role models to their peers at school.

  17. I would love this book because I work mostly with students from difficult situations and could use anything I can get to open conversations with them.

    – Chad – Cedar Rapids, IA

  18. I would love to read your book. I have three kids age 17, 14, and 12. After attending your parenting class I can see that it is more and more important to have ways to connect with my kids, to have relevant conversations with them that they are interested in. I think this would be a great conversation starter for our family.

  19. I would love to read your book. I have three kids age 17, 14, and 12. After attending your parenting class I can see that it is more and more important to have ways to connect with my kids, to have relevant conversations with them that they are interested in. I think this would be a great conversation starter for our family.

  20. Nick Mance – Hershey, PA

    I would love to read this Jon. This is so applicable to our area. Last year we had multiple threats and students were actually found to have plans and weapons. We have students, families, and educators asking questions and I would love to use this as a resource. Thanks for all your do.

  21. My son, going into 8th grade, and I heard you speak at Christ Community Church 2 years ago. We have utilized several of your resources in our family life. My son is an avid reader, and I am confident he would eagerly read your book. My daughter entering 6th grade will likely read it at some point too.

  22. Phil Ball
    Vancouver, WA

    In my new role with NNYM, I’m part of a crisis response discussion to identify and bring training and resources to youth leaders to prepare them for crises like school shootings and would love to read this so I can recommend it to others!

  23. Tracy Colestock, Andover, MN. I’m a parent of 4 teens and would find this a great book for discussion.

  24. Todd Pounds Woodville Texas I want to read the book because I’m always trying to learn more about the generation I’m ministering too and the culture they/we live in.

  25. Ryan Dull I live in Clovis, CA. I would like to read the book because:
    1) I like fiction
    2) I teach high school students and many of these issues affect them daily. I’d love an opportunity to have something to talk about with them related to these topics.
    3) I could also share get the word out to my students to read the book as well.

  26. I almost wrote Jonathan killed it with this book but that may be a little insensitive. I got to screen this book and loved it! its a very differ way to look at the nightmare that is in the back of every student’s mind. I plan to buy it and host a book club for my student s to read and discuss it. I am looking forward to unpacking it with my kids!!!! 10/10

  27. Jonathan, I read your draft of the book when it was titled “Enmity” and gave you some feedback. I would love to read the final version. This is especially appropriate for our community as we had a number of gun-related school safety issues in our district last year.

  28. Adrienne Jacobus – Hastings NE. I’ve enjoyed reading your books and gaining insight into the world my boys are growing up in.

  29. Wes Henson from Texas. I really enjoyed your Zombie Apocalypse book and would love to have a platform for jump starting some discussion with teenagers!

  30. As a youth leader, a homeschooling mama and teacher in my community and someone who cares deeply about lifting others up, I’d like to read this book.

  31. Rhoda Denver PA
    I work with at-risk kids and am highly interested in educating about their life and traumas, so that I can better reach them.
    Can’t wait till your book on bullying is released.

  32. Laquita Andrews – Billings, MT
    I have gleaned much wisdom from you writings and from a seminar you did here in Billings a few years ago. I currently work with our high school youth ministry at church plus I have 1 teen and 2 tweens still at home. I need to be equipped and aware of what our teens are facing.

  33. Frankly, I love your blogs and truly enjoyed reading The Bullying Breakthrough. Even though this is fiction, with all the research you have put into it, I feel it would be a great tool to use with our youth group. The kids are facing so much and we as adults need the tools in all formats to help them.

  34. All of your material has consistently beneficial, especially with youth ministry. Your ministry has been of great value and blessing to so MANY! Thanks for (still) pursuing your calling.

  35. Can’t wait to read another one of JM’s masterpieces-really! He puts out top-notch curriculum, books, training, great websites with “oodles” of information and everything else in between!

  36. José Cagigal. Wayne, NJ. Father of 3 teens plus a little kid. One of the teens has just been expelled from school for bullying.

  37. Jenn from Alameda, CA

    I’ve been an avid reader and reviewer of your books in the past. I am a youth teacher at an underresourced church, and love learning about youth ministry, whether it’s ministry itself, the mind of a youth, how to talk to youth…you name it, I want to read about it. I have a few students who were bullied in the past, and I myself have been a victim of bullying, so this is something that’s close to my heart.

  38. Josh Kestner, from Salem, VA

    I own and love many of your books, they are all very informative and helpful- especially as a resource with our youth ministry volunteers and parents!
    I anticipate that this book would also be a great insight into this crucial arena that impacts and surrounds our teenagers. It will help our awareness, understanding, and compassion for students- all of whom are impacted and involved in some way in these interactions! Thank you!

  39. I have 2 boys about to enter MS/HS and would love to read this book for more conversation starters to have with them as they enter this new world of HS. Thank you for making this book for all of us parents who fear the stage of their lives.

  40. I am a Youth Minister and I would love to read this book and use it as a resource for parents/students/teachers/fellow ministers.

    I live in Conway, SC

  41. I am a parent of a 15 and 11 year old. I read your blog and you’ve helped me start so many meaningful discussions with my children – the most recent of which was about lyrics to popular songs that they like. You should’ve seen their eyes pop open when they actually read some of the lyrics! Your book, If I Had A Parenting Do-Over, was also extremely helpful. I still read to my children almost every night before bed and I’d love to share Bystanders with them. Thank you!

  42. I would love to read this book. I think you have been a very talented and thought-provoking author that has challenged many ministries over the years. This book could be a game changer and will help youth directors like me able to relate more on the student level when tragedies like these occur.
    I am in Spartanburg, SC

  43. My name is Dawn and I am from Intercourse, PA.

    I would love to read your book as you are very inspiring and your books have helped me to help my daughters.

  44. Adam Burt, Billings, MT

    I work with lots of youth workers and parents who would really benefit from the take aways in this noon.

  45. My name is Brian Jennings and I live in Pickens, South Carolina. I am a children’s pastor in South Carolina.
    I would love a copy of your book because I have read your other books and respect your research and work. I would love to have this for my library to help equip workers and parents.

  46. I just stumbled across you and am wanting to read some of your books…this looks like a great one to start with. I have a son who is a freshman in high school and I think this would be a good read for him and his friends.

  47. I enjoy reading and currently work with 11th & 12th grade students. This is such a tragic event that is affecting more and more students/families. I would be interested in the insight you have gained through research for this book.

  48. I’m a Youth Pastor from Eugene, Oregon. As the issue of school violence continues to rise in our culture, I am always looking for quality resources to help me understand this issue and help the next generation navigate through it.

  49. I would love to read this book and hopefully be able to pass on informative knowledge to my daughter. This is such a crazy time and am always looking for ways to keep my daughter safe and smart. I live in Clearwater, Fl.

  50. My name is Trish Kapelke and I just started at a church in LaCrosse, WI 21 days ago. I had stepped away from full-time youth ministry for a few years to focus on family and such and am now back in the hot seat. I would love to read your book for both my professional and personal benefit. We have four teens in our home currently, and a large group of teens at our congregation that I am focusing on building relationships with. I would love to read your insight on how we can do more to strengthen and validate our youth in Christ.

  51. Chris Lehane, Goshen, IN. I’d love to read this not only as a parent but as a Pastor who interacts with students regularly.

  52. Benji Riddle, Meridian MS
    I would be very interested in reading this! There something about the use of narrative to bring to light something compelling that this generation tends to react most favorably with, rather than just presenting it outright. They see bullying and violence in schools, but this medium stands a chance to really make a shift in this trend. I love a well-told story, and this is so relevant right now, more and more each day. I would love the opportunity to check this out.

  53. My name is Diana Miller. I would love the opportunity to read another one of your books (and first fiction). I am a youth leader and I work at a camp.

  54. Hi! I am from Rocklin CA, I have two high schoolers who have dealt with adversity for as long as I can remember (some may call it bullying) and though I am a social worker who has dealt with teenagers regularly, it is all more. Hallenging when your momma’s heart is involved.Any education I can get to help equip them in today’s violent world or even to acknowledge they do not stand alone in their circumstances, would be great! Can’t wait to read it!

  55. I’d love to read the book. I’m a youth pastor in North Carolina. I’m also our conference Youth Pastor. I help with mentoring other youth pastors in our denominational conference.

  56. Dave Plumley Mentor, Ohio. Always looking for relevant resources to better reach and minister to students I work with.

  57. Yes!!!!! So excited about this book. If I’m not first 100 I’ll be buying (though if I am first 100 I’ll buy it for someone else). Thanks for all you do Jonathan.

    1. That’s awesome Grant. Yes, you did make the cut… and that’s awesome that you’ll buy one for a friend also! The print version should be up on Amazon very soon! Thanks, my friend!

  58. I’d like to read the book for two reasons.
    1. You are awesome. I love your work and advice.

    2. I work in a public school and think this would be a interesting read.


  59. Having been bullied myself as a kid this topic is of great interest to me, especially being a mom of middle & high schoolers.

  60. Pamela Bryson
    Houston, TX

    I live in a major city and am a lay youth minister at my church, Plymouth United church, UCC. I deal with my students’ questions when there has been a school shooting, like the recent one in Satna Fe High School. I cannot promise them that a shooter will never enter their scho9ols, nor can I promise them that god will keep them safe. I would love to know what I can tell them beyond their school district rules (6 school districts represented in my group) and that I love them and pray for them.

  61. Josh Nelson
    Manhattan, KS

    I am a long-time youth pastor and high school basketball coach. This is an issue that every student experiences, whether the bullied, the bully, a witness, or as one who knows a friend who has been hurt by someone else. Plus, I’m a long-time reader of all things Jonathan McKee. 🙂

  62. Bill Newmyer, Columbia, SC
    Looks like an interesting way to start a dialog on some very current topics. I’d love to have a copy to read and comment on!

  63. This is a topic that impacts students everywhere large and small communities. I work with students daily and this is a means to break into new conversations and meet kids where they’re at. Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff?

  64. I would love to read your book. My husband and I work with youth and this would be a wonderful insight into this topic. Thank you for all you do in reaching students.

  65. Jonathan, if you have any books remaining I would love to read it. I live in Newport News, VA and I am an “old” youth minister with what I’m sure are “old” ideas about bullying. I’m confident your book will help open my eyes to the realities our teens deal with at school and on social media. One of the things that you bring up about how things are different with teens today is that teens cannot seem to escape bullying because of the intrusion of social media. I need this kind of reminder when I compare life when I was growing up to life today. It is a 24/7 reality for our kids. Thanks for all you do for youth workers, parents and teens. You are one groovy cat…ok, forget I said that. 🙂

  66. I’m Ryan from Burlington Iowa and I just got back into youth ministry after a 7 year hiatus. Prior to me stepping away from YM your site and books like connect, getting students to show up and your 10 minute talks were extremely helpful. I’m excited to be back in YM and would like to read your new stuff.

  67. I’m Cecil from Omaha, NE. Would love to read your book and get some perspective on understanding what is going through my kids heads around the topic.

  68. My name is Jenni and I live in Highland MI. I am a parent of two high school students and also a youth volunteer at our church so would appreciate reading a book about this topic, especially with a faith focus.

  69. Hi, I am a youth worker from Bloomington, IN. I would love to read your book and share it with my team so that we can better understand the youth we serve in our community.

  70. Hi! I’m Carrie in Portland, OR and I’d love to read your book. As an aunt of seven kids in middle and high school, I’m continually looking for ways to open up conversations with them about the “real stuff.” Thanks!

  71. Hey, I’m Josh Ray and live in Highland, MI. I would love to check out your book. I have students who talk about this topic a lot. Would love more perspective!

  72. Writing from Rochester, MI and am just starting to work with youth. Saddens me to see how difficult it is in this current culture for young people to mature without all the evil influences of our time. Would love to see your perspective on this topic.

  73. Commenting from Newmanstown, PA 17073. I appreciate your emails, books, and conference speaking engagements (2x now at Momentum youth). I had the privilege to read and comment on the soon-to-be released Bullying Breakthrough book as well. Many moms I talk to in our area just cannot wrap their brains around this school shooting epidemic and the more information I can have when talking with them the better conversations we can have as concerned parents and school community.

  74. I am interested in reading it and then giving it to my son to read to create a dialog with him and hopefully get his friends in on it too. We live in Florida and school shootings are closer to home than any of us would like. Good opportunity for discussion.

  75. Just got my copy of Bystanders in the mail today…so excited to read it!
    Thank you Jonathan

  76. I lead a youth group in Lewistown, PA and am interested in reading the book and possibly doing the study with them.

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