Book Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Posted January 5, 2016 by @Angelized_1st in Books, COYER Going Back to Basics, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 9 Comments

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.

Book Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke NijkampThis 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
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
ISBN: 9781492622468
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

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.

About Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends, a contemporary story that follows four teens over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting, is published by Sourcebooks Fire.

She is the founder of DiversifYA as well as founding member and advisor of We Need Diverse Books. Find her on Twitter.


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9 responses to “Book Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

  1. I am not sure if this is a book for me, but it sounds really good and so emotional and scary at the same time. I love the cover, very attention grabbing and it makes me curious about the book. It’s so simple, but also so telling. The multiple point of views sound very interesting and I like the sound of how every perspective holds clues to figuring out why the boy with the gun is doing this. Great review!

    • @Angelized_1st

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed my review 🙂 It was a tough book to read. I kept having to take breaks. It’s rare I read heavy books, but in hindsight I’m glad I read it. In fact, I’m still thinking about it.

  2. I was definitely curious about this book. When I first discovered it a few weeks ago there were quite a few mixed reviews, but I keep seeing more and more positive reviews. I’m glad to see you liked it! I personally love heavy, emotional books like this so I might just like it after all. Thanks for the great review!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    • @Angelized_1st

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂 I normally don’t go for the heavy books, because I end up bawling like a baby. Which I did with this one. Still, I’m glad I read it.

  3. I love the author’s commitment to diversity in books (something I feel strongly about also.) And the book sounds very well-written. If I were a different sort of reader, I would jump on it right away. But as someone who struggles with anxiety at times, and who has had mass shootings strike close to people I care about on several occasions (Virginia Tech and the Navy Yard), I think this would be more than a little uncomfortable for me.

    • @Angelized_1st

      Oh, yeah, I would imagine this would hit too close to home. I don’t have any experience with this, and still had to take breaks from reading it. I loved the story, and was really captivated by it, but it’s such a tough and common occurrence that I felt overwhelmed from time to time. Thanks for stopping by!

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