Goodreads ratings
4.03 / 5

"Bang" Summary

By Lisa McMann

young adult | 418 pages | Published in 2014

They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence. But I’m not innocent. I haven’t been for a very long time. My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.Gone.Vanished.I never even had a choice. I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs. Until now. I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A teenage boy with the ability to see people's deaths must grapple with the responsibility of preventing tragedy.


In the gripping novel "Bang" by Lisa McMann, readers are taken on a thrilling and emotional journey through the life of a teenage boy named Sebastian Cody. McMann skillfully explores themes of grief, guilt, and redemption while delivering a heart-wrenching story that will leave readers deeply moved and introspective. With its compelling characters and thought-provoking narrative, "Bang" has garnered critical acclaim and has become a must-read for fans of young adult literature.

Brief Synopsis

"Bang" is set in a small town in Minnesota and follows the life of Sebastian Cody, a seventeen-year-old boy who is grappling with the aftermath of a tragic accident. The story begins with Sebastian attending a New Year's Eve party, where he witnesses a horrifying scene. A gunman enters the party and opens fire, killing several people and leaving Sebastian with a bullet lodged in his head.

As Sebastian recovers physically, he also struggles with survivor's guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He becomes withdrawn from his friends, family, and school, deeply affected by the trauma he experienced. Throughout the novel, McMann delves into Sebastian's internal struggles and his journey towards healing and self-acceptance.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Sebastian CodyThe seventeen-year-old protagonist who survives a shooting and must navigate the aftermath.
AneesaA new student at Sebastian's school who befriends him and helps him find his voice again.
EvanSebastian's best friend who is struggling with his own demons but remains a loyal and supportive presence in Sebastian's life.
Sebastian's FamilyHis mother, father, and younger sister who try to support him through his recovery.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: The Shooting and Its Aftermath

Sebastian attends a New Year's Eve party and witnesses a shooting. He is injured and traumatized, with the bullet leaving him with a constant buzzing sound in his head. Sebastian struggles to cope with survivor's guilt and his changed perception of the world.

Chapter 6-10: A New Friendship

Aneesa, a new student at Sebastian's school, reaches out to him and the two form a friendship. Aneesa helps Sebastian find solace in art and encourages him to express his emotions through his drawings.

Chapter 11-15: Family Dynamics

Sebastian's relationships with his parents and younger sister become strained as they try to understand and support him. Sebastian feels isolated and misunderstood, further deepening his emotional struggles.

Chapter 16-20: Confronting the Past

Sebastian decides to face his fears and attend a therapy session to address his trauma. Through therapy, he begins to confront the events of the shooting and work through his feelings of guilt and fear.

Chapter 21-25: Reclaiming His Voice

Inspired by his therapy sessions and Aneesa's encouragement, Sebastian starts to regain his voice by participating in a public speaking competition. He delivers a powerful speech about his experience and the importance of empathy and understanding.

Chapter 26-30: Healing and Acceptance

Sebastian continues to heal emotionally, finding solace in art and the support of his friends and family. While he still carries the weight of the shooting, he learns to accept himself and the circumstances that led him to where he is.

Main Events

  1. Sebastian witnesses a shooting at a New Year's Eve party.
  2. Sebastian forms a friendship with Aneesa, who helps him find solace in art.
  3. Sebastian attends therapy sessions to confront his trauma.
  4. Sebastian participates in a public speaking competition to reclaim his voice.
  5. Sebastian finds healing and acceptance through art and the support of his loved ones.

Themes and Insights


  1. Trauma and Its Aftermath: McMann explores the impact of trauma on an individual's mental and emotional well-being, showcasing the long-lasting effects it can have on one's life.
  2. Guilt and Forgiveness: Sebastian grapples with survivor's guilt and learns to forgive himself for the events he had no control over.
  3. Redemption and Healing: The novel highlights the power of self-acceptance and the journey towards healing and redemption.


  • "Bang" encourages readers to reflect on the importance of empathy and understanding in supporting individuals who have experienced trauma.
  • McMann's portrayal of Sebastian's journey offers insight into the complexities of the human mind and the resilience of the human spirit.

Reader's Takeaway

"Bang" is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that explores the aftermath of trauma and the power of healing. McMann's storytelling skills and her ability to delve into the emotional depths of her characters make this book a compelling and impactful read. It serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the human spirit, as well as the importance of compassion and support in times of adversity.


"Bang" by Lisa McMann is a gripping and emotionally charged novel that delves into the aftermath of a tragic event. Through the journey of Sebastian Cody, readers are taken on a transformative exploration of trauma, guilt, and redemption. With its compelling characters, powerful themes, and insightful narrative, "Bang" is a must-read for fans of young adult literature and anyone seeking a thought-provoking and moving story.

Bang FAQ

  1. What is the book 'Bang' about?

    The book 'Bang' is a contemporary young adult novel that follows the story of a teenage boy named Sebastian who accidentally shoots his baby sister with his father's gun.

  2. Who is the author of 'Bang'?

    The author of 'Bang' is Lisa McMann.

  3. Is 'Bang' part of a series?

    'Bang' is a standalone novel and is not part of a series.

  4. What genre does 'Bang' belong to?

    'Bang' is classified as a contemporary fiction novel.

  5. What age group is the target audience for 'Bang'?

    'Bang' is intended for young adult readers, typically ages 14 and up.

  6. Does 'Bang' contain any sensitive or triggering content?

    Yes, 'Bang' deals with themes of gun violence and its aftermath, so it may be triggering for some readers.

  7. Where is the setting of the book 'Bang'?

    The story of 'Bang' is set in a small town in the United States.

  8. Is 'Bang' based on a true story?

    'Bang' is a work of fiction and is not based on a true story.

  9. What is the page count of 'Bang'?

    The page count of 'Bang' is approximately 320 pages.

  10. Is 'Bang' available in ebook format?

    Yes, 'Bang' is available in both physical and ebook formats.