Leonard Peacock is pretty unhappy. And his depression has led him to a couple of conclusions: Asher Beal, his former childhood best friend, needs to die. And he would be much happier if he, himself, wasn’t alive anymore either.But first, it’s Leonard’s birthday and he wants to give each of his four best friends a gift to say goodbye. The first gift is for his very best friend, the old man with whom he watches old Humphrey Bogart movies on days he skips school. The second is for a friend who isn’t really a friend; the rare fellow student with whom he has a relatively positive relationship, but maybe that’s only because they don’t really know anything about each other. The third is for the girl that he really, really wants to kiss, but who is inherently wrong for him (and him for her). And the last is for Herr Silverman, his Holocaust teacher and the only person in his life that invites him to speak and seems to really want to hear what he has to say. He also leaves a wrapped present for his mother (though he wonders why he bothers).
And he saves one final thing for himself: the P-38 pistol that his grandfather saved from Nazi wartime.
Recommended to all high school readers, and all adults, too. This novel is designed to make you think, and Leonard’s story is presented in such a way that we are not only rooting for someone to save him, but we are hoping that he - and all those who are hurting - can figure out a way to save himself, because all futures are worth having.