This story is told in alternating perspectives from six characters. In the first six chapters, each student is introduced. They all have different backgrounds and conflicts, but they each hint at a strong motive to be at the school a week before classes start and a backpack that is necessary for his/her plan.
Chabonneau drops hints and pieces of information along the way, helping the reader to narrow down the list of suspects. I appreciated the care Charbonneau took in using stereotypes to establish the character's problems, but then deconstructing those same stereotypes as the students fight for their lives in the chaos. Each character feels no one knows him/her. Each character feels judged. And, true to teenage form, none of them realize the others are feeling this same way.
I appreciate that not everything was wrapped up with a neat little bow at the end. Life still sucks for some of them; living through a disaster didn't change that. But each character has decided to live. Time Bomb is an engaging and fast read with a strong element of mystery. I only didn't rank this five stars because I'd guessed the bomber early on, and found the ending harder to enjoy while picking up the breadcrumbs I already knew to be wrong. In sum, I like to discover the twist ending with the characters, not before them, and that didn't happen here. I would still highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a fast-paced book or theme of breaking down stereotypes.