The Knife That Killed Me

Anthony McGowan

He is coming to kill me. Now would be a good time to run. I cannot run. I am too afraid to run. Paul Varderman could be at any normal school – bullies, girls and annoying teachers are just a part of life. Unfortunately ‘normal’ doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s most evil bully, Roth, a twisted and threatening thug with an agenda quite unlike anyone else. When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but when Roth hands him a knife it both empowers him and scares him at the same time …This thought-provoking and original novel highlights the terrible consequences of peer pressure and violence, and casts a spotlight on the worrying rise in knife crime among teenagers.


29 thoughts on “The Knife That Killed Me

  1. I loved it, I was hooked from the start but it was weird because it kind of repulsed me at the same time. The ending was brilliant if not a bit sad and reading where the knife was as he told the story was really clever. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. Not sure if I’m allowed to do this, but I just wanted to thank everyone who’s read my book and left comments here. Lots of really interesting points made (both positive and negative), and much food for thought.

  3. Very well-written. You are hooked to it from the very start. It’s very realistic, has a brilliant ending and doesn’t have a single bad thing about it.

  4. beautifully-written. the way the story is intertwined with the flashbacks works really well and makes for an exciting ending. the themes running through the novel are easy for teenagers to relate to which is one of the reasons I fell in love with this book. McGowan has an amazing insight into the day to day struggles of a teenager in today’s society. It is an amazingly powerful novel without being at all lecturing or condescending. He has made me question the casual violence we see all too often in schools and I think any write who can evoke such a strong emotional response deserves a great amount of adulation and respect.

  5. A brilliant book, showing what school is like today for some kids and the pressure they are under to carry knives. There is never a dull moment in this book. I liked the way it highlighted school life and the twist at the end. I hope to read many more books by this author.

  6. This book was an interesting read. In the time I had to myself I just couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend this book to people who like reading about real life issues.

  7. Things I enjoyed about this book:
    I enjoyed so many things about this book there wouldn’t be room for them on this page.
    I loved how true to life it was
    I loved how the kids were stereotyped and although I usually disagree with stereotyping this book wouldn’t be the same without it. It added extra oomph to the war between the two schools.
    The ending was fabulous. Even things you expect to happen still come as a big shock as you read.

    Things I didn’t enjoy about this book:
    the way freaks/emos are stereotyped
    the dog’s death had nothing to do with the plot it was just written in hope of us cringeing in horror (though in a way it helped me understand how serious the war between the schools was).

    Definitely 9/10

  8. A boy’s book if ever there was one. Knife crime is in the news all the time, we think Anthony McGowan is trying to get a message across. ‘The Knife that Killed Me’ is shocking and well written. There are moments of horror which are so realistic and believable. We didn’t like the main character very much and some of us found the short flash back episodes a bit wearing.

  9. I found this book very disturbing. It was sad becuase this type of thing does happen, but I didn’t like it.

  10. I think that book was mint because he was writing a book even though he was dead, i want to do that when i am dead, i think that it would be cool coz i would be able to haunt the person for ever if he wouldn’t publish my book. But this book is mint.

    year 9 benfield school

  11. this is a good book with real life issues and can effect what happens in society. This can influence what teachers can do in schools and even maybe change a bullies attitudes

  12. This book was a really good read. Its is based on something that really happens around us in the real world, where you cant be yourself because of what other people expect you to be like. I thought that this book has a good moral behind it, that you should be yourself no matter what and to have the confidence to tell people if something terrible is going on. It shows how dangerous and out of hand things might get if you didnt share it with someone who could have stopped it. Like Paul had to live with the consequence of Shane’s death forever, it would not have happened if he had told his teachers or even his parents about it. Therefore, not only have I found this book a really good read but I have learnt a lot from it as well!! 😀

  13. WOW this book is amazing! i just have one problem, should i vote for it?
    i had to read this last didn’t it. suppose it’s true what they say save the best till last


    Adam Gilson
    CRamlington Learning Village

  14. I loved tktkm¬ it was such a true to life book even though sometimes it was a bit OTT, i didnt really like the ending but i wont comment much on it incase you havent read on it as i wouldnt like to spoil the ending. It was a very good boy/girl teenage school book as most books about schools are about stereotypical girls. This was a brilliant read and i would recommend it to anyone who is wary about it. Enjoy.

  15. i have just this minute finished reading this book and i could not put it down. it is really not the kind of thing i usually read but it was a fab story line with twists and turns and just a hint of confusion. i think that it deals with current issues of knife crime and gangs in a way which is easy to understand and relate to and i think that Paul is a classic example of the threats of peer pressure and bullying. overall an enjoyable read.

  16. I agree with Sean Green.

    He is right about reading some parts over more than twice. I had to read the beginning and end twice over just so that I could get my head around it.

    I love the techiques the writer uses, the way he made me think and get confused so much. At the beginning of the book I had thought that it was going to be a magical book like “The Black Tattoo”, in some way.

    And then there the part where I readed page 5 and 6. I had thought that he was in hell because he died already. And that in hell there were head stickingt out of the ground and that he was a watchman. And that he was going to tell us how he when from live to death, looking after the dead. I tell you now I had no clue how confused I was.

    I think it was exellent, how all the way throught to the end, I thought that Paul would die, and in a really wierd way he did. And I understand that I could feel the pain, the loss. To be honest I even cry (just a little bit).

    The best thing I liked about the book was how at the begining he tell you, about the shadow and with the knife. Aet each 2-3 chapter you get half page of a little bit more of how you think Paul dies.
    And at some point I had thought that the Shadow was Roth and the other boy was Compson, who was emesssmed and wanted revenge.

    The ending was sad and hard to get around because I never really came cross a book that is sad at the end even way you try and look at it.

    I when reading was trying to understand why people were calling Anthony McGowan “Stunning New Talent” and now I know why.

  17. I thought that this book was really good. It would not have been a book that I would have picked, but it turned out to be really interesting.

  18. Grabbed your attention from the beginning. I thought the characters were made real by the way of writing. I would recommend it to boys more than girls, but not just boys. I didn’t really like the style of writing, but the story line kept it good.

    Year 10

  19. Grabbed your attention from the beginning. I thought the characters were made real by the way of writing. I would recommend it to boys more than girls, but not just boys. I didn’t really like the style of writing, but the story line kept it good.

  20. I love the way that Anthony Mcgowan has planned this book out
    and the way it made you want to go further and further into the story.
    All the writers have done an extremely good job but this is an 8 out of 10

    jade peters
    berwick high school

  21. I really like Anthony McGowan’s style of writing. I found the book interesting and exciting. I really enjoyed it.

  22. This book was one of the shortest books that I read but I found it was a fantastic but dark read.

    I enjoyed this book however it was a very sinister and violent book that showed the darker side of teenage life at its most extreme. Where as most authors are afraid to write about such dramatic and dark storylines, so even though this style of writing isn’t really for everybody I enjoyed it and its twist on the average teen drama. I think Anthony McGowan was brave to try this more gruesome approach.

  23. The knife that killed me was not the best book on the list but it is a very good one. It is a very up and down book it is good in places but bad in others. Some parts of the book are very shocking and is unrealistic to what kids would do. I rate this book 7/10.

  24. Weird title, Weird book. But I liked it. It drew me in and I really enjoyed it. Apart from the ending, which was odd, and more than a little upsetting

  25. Steph: i really like this book becasue it shows what teenage life is like. even if it is a bit extreme this sort of thing does happen and teeneagers need to be aware of that.
    gemma: A BIT EXTREME? Big understatement there Steph! Still a great book though. Didn’t get the odd bits between the chapters though…

  26. I was really gripped by this book, because of the way the author really got into the mind of a teenage boy. The ending was a great twist!

  27. this book is fab! ! ! its so real life, but intresting.:) i could read this book over and over again! ! ! it was so dramatic. . .
    i loved the bit were they get into a big fight and when he killed his best friend was so sad. mint ! ! !

    alysia todd

  28. The book was very good with a great twist at the end. The start was slightly confusing and wield at the same time. I had too read the first two pages twice to get my head around it. One gory part was the box with the dogs head and how Paul blamed her. The twist that Paul killed Shane thinking he was the attacker was good, and Paul saying that although he killed Shane, he also felt that he died by the same knife that day.

  29. I really liked this book especially the real life issues and the dramatic ending. It was fast moving and gripping.

    Anna Chrisp
    Yr 10
    The Duchess’s Community High School

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