Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Purchased Hardcover
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won’t open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This story is on a sensitive topic of school shootings, so please take that into consideration before reading it.
I knew as soon as I picked this book up that it would be a controversial one. I knew that people were going to die in it. I knew I’d be sad. But wow, I didn’t expect to be blown away.
The story follows four individuals who are all linked through one person in some way: Tomas, Sylv, Autumn, and Claire. Each chapter has each person’s point of view during that set time of what is taking place, so each section of story is happening at the same time as another within that time frame, which I thought was actually pretty cool.
Normally I would talk about each character individually, but this book didn’t really allow for a lot of growth or anything like that in the characters because everything did happen within an hour’s time. But I will say that I believe each character learned something about themselves during that time and that, though terrible as their experience was, if we were to see them a length of time from now that they would have learned and grown from that tragedy.
It was a fast paced story that took place over the course of 54 minutes, which is incredible to think about, because while the characters talked about what they were doing and how they wanted to get through it, there were also flashbacks that they would have as they remembered memories that were joyful to them, or sad, or significant. Many of these memories traced back to the shooter, but some of them were memories for the sake of remembering. I think that including these flashbacks was important because I’m sure that for many in life or death situations, these kinds of things are going to come up in your mind.
I did have a few problems with the book, though, such as in some ways I’m not entirely sure the gravity of the situations was truly reached from certain characters’ perspectives, and that there were a few lines that I don’t think would actually have happened in real life that were in there, but then again, people react to situations differently, so maybe those lines are possible (like Tomas flirting with the cheerleader…sort of).
I also felt that, at the end, I was sad for many reasons but one of them being what happened with the shooter. I just wish more had been explored into his own psychology and that maybe we could have gotten a perspective from him. I think that definitely would have made the story even more interesting and gripping than it already was.
Other than that, I felt completely gripped by the story and couldn’t put it down; I needed to know what happened next. Each perspective lead to something hidden and meaningful and I felt so much sadness and shock over the situation that I was reading about. I know these things happen in real life, and I really wish they didn’t, and I was glad to read about a book that dealt with the issue.
I gave this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.