Please be aware that This is Where It Ends is about a school shooting. If this is something that will upset you, I’d recommend not reading this review and probably not this book.
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity 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 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. (via Goodreads)
This is Where It Ends is a heartbreaking book – there’s no way around it. You will cry while reading it, and you will probably enjoy it.
I didn’t know whether I’d enjoy this book or not. On the one hand, I’d heard good things about its writing, I enjoy following Nijkamp on Twitter, and I knew that it featured a diverse cast. On the other, it’s about people going through a school shooting, something that has horrified the United States over and over again recently. It’s a sensitive subject that really has to be handled with care, and I felt that Nijkamp does a great job with it.
Many other reviewers either loved or hated This is Where it Ends, and I was one of the former. I felt like we really got to know all of the characters that we read through, and I kind of feel like we knew Tyler. We don’t know what caused him to snap, or what was going through his mind, but we know who he was before he came to school that day. We’ll never know what causes people to lost it like that, but we knew how his sister felt, how his ex-girlfriend felt. Really, this story, and a shooting in general, wasn’t about the shooter – it’s about the people around him and their families.
The prose in This is Where it Ends is beautiful, with quotes like this scattered throughout it.
“Dad always told me there are more stories in the universe than stars in the sky. And in every story, there’s the light of hope. That’s why the seniors sent lanterns up to the sky-to make sure the darkness is never absolute.”
I listened to the audiobook, which was a daily deal on Audible, and the full cast of characters added a humanity to this that I think really helped me to get through this book in one mental piece.
I think this is an important book, I feel like a lot of people should read this story, but I know this isn’t for everybody. Please be careful of your mental health while reading this, but if you can handle it, I encourage you to read This is Where it Ends, because I’ve rated it four stars.
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.
Marieke’s debut young adult novel, This Is Where It Ends, follows four teens during the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting. The book is available in hardcover and ebook from Sourcebooks Fire in the US and the UK. The audio book is available from Brilliance Audio. For more information about Marieke, take a look at her press kit or the FAQ. For more information about This Is Where It Ends, take a look at the book page or the discussion guide.