I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Social Issues, Violence, Bullying
Reading Challenges: COYER Back to Basics
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
10:00 a.m. 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.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 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 is Where it Ends has the honor of being the last book I began reading in 2015, and the first book I finished in 2016. It also was one of the most heart-wrenching books I read last year. When I first saw this book, like many others, it was the cover the grabbed my attention. Broken chalk in the midst of falling or breaking says so much with very little. Trying to figure out why this image was paired with the title propelled me to read the synopsis. I knew this would be a novel I would love, and I was right.
This is Where it Ends is a detailed account of something, unfortunately, that has become a common occurrence in American schools these days – school shootings. The story is told from the viewpoints of four characters with ties to the perpetrator: his sister, her girlfriend, the girlfriend’s twin brother, and the shooter’s ex-girlfriend. Each of these people hold clues to the puzzle of why the shooter decided that killing his “enemies” was the best way to come to terms with his broken relationships with them. Over the course of 55 minutes, readers are propelled on a journey that covers the themes of courage, grief, isolation, and sexual identity.
One of the aspects of the book I loved the most was how diverse it was. We meet characters from different races, genders, and sexual orientation. Not only that, but Nijkamp makes their integration seamless, and realistic to today’s American social stratum. I never felt as if any of her decisions to include an Afghani boy, or homosexual characters were done for shock value, or in a bid to be trendy. I also really loved how she unfolded the story.
The story unfolds minute by minute though the eyes of the four people telling the story. With each minute and POV, readers begin to unravel the mystery of why the shooting took place. I was left wondering how each of these characters played a part, and who (if anyone) was the blame. The main characters, society, something else? I recommend This is Where it Ends to readers who are looking for something well-written and thought-provoking. This novel will haunt you long after you finish it, and leave you contemplating your impact on the people around you.