This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Illustrated by: N/A
Published: January 5th 2016, Sourcebooks Fire
Length: 285 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary, High School Fiction
Where Did I Get It? I bought myself a copy because I have wanted to read it since before it was published.
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.
10:01 – 10:02 A.M.
The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.
My Review: Let’s start with that cover. Go back and look at it again, go on. It is *so* simple and yet every time I look at it, my heart lurches a little. Utter genius. Beautiful and horrifying all at once.
In fact, ‘beautiful and horrifying all at once’ is a good way to describe This Is Where It Ends – A full length book that covers a tiny snapshot of time is a tough thing to pull off, but Marieke Nijkamp managed it with style.
There are four narrators: Tomas, Sylv, Amber, and Claire – they are all very different, despite Tomas and Sylv being siblings, and their different viewpoints of the same situation bring it to life far better than if it had only been a single POV narrative.
Being able to experience the action from characters locked inside the auditorium and also from those locked out was a great way to heighten the fear and tension.
The scenes inside were naturally horrifying and difficult to read but often I found the scenes that had my heart racing the hardest were those narrated by Claire and Tomas who each had their reasons to not be in the assembly that morning but were still at school. Their realisation of what was going on and the fact that they couldn’t get in to help was gut-wrenching to read. Especially when they each realised that the whole school was in there with the gunman – including their siblings.
Tense and sometimes graphic, This Is Where It Ends was not an enjoyable read but it was an incredible one. It was accessible and in an easy style to read and I found it very hard to put down – the short time frame of action and first person voices made it all very immediate. You needed to know what was going to happen next, if people were going to get out, who the gunman was going to turn the barrel towards in the next five minutes, when were the police going to arrive.
Why? Why, why, why, why, why?
It won’t surprise you when I say that I cried. I utterly bawled. They were tears of sadness, yes, but also of rage. Rage at the fact that despite the fact that this is a work of fiction, shootings like this are a real thing. They happen in America all the time. They happen so often that they don’t always make the local news over there sometimes.
Why? How?! I am forever grateful that I have grown up in a place with strict gun laws so that messed-up, over emotional teenagers and angry adults aren’t armed with weapons that can cause so much devastation so easily. It happens, but not so much.
This Is Where It Ends is an emotional rollercoaster that highlights the sheer horror of gun crime and High-School shootings. It is wonderfully written and heart-breakingly awful.
You should read it.
My Rating: 5/5*