×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

This Is Where It Ends
     

This Is Where It Ends

4.2 44
by Marieke Nijkamp
 

See All Formats & Editions

A New York Times Bestseller!

Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.

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

Overview

A New York Times Bestseller!

Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.

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 from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

#1 Young Adult Debut of 2016
Winter '15 Kids Indie Next List
Goodreads YA Best Books of the Month
Buzzfeed 5 YA Books You Should Be Reading This January
Bustle.com 18 of 2016's Most-Anticipated YA Novels
BookRiot 15 Books out in 2016 You Should Mark Down Now

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/02/2015
Sometimes the most terrifying horrors are not those involving monsters out of fantasy but those taken straight from today’s headlines. Nijkamp’s debut follows four high school students on their first day of the spring semester in Opportunity, Ala. Over the course of 54 minutes—the amount of time a gunman holds their school hostage—their lives collide. Each of the four has an intimate connection to the shooter, and all must find a way to face the unfolding tragedy. While Claire views the event from outside the school, Autumn, Sylv, and Tomás are on the front lines. Love, loyalty, bravery, and loss meld into a chaotic, heart-wrenching mélange of issues that unite some and divide others. A highly diverse cast of characters, paired with vivid imagery and close attention to detail, set the stage for an engrossing, unrelenting tale. The starkly chilling realism and themes of abuse, death, and assault, among others, may prove too much for younger or sensitive readers, but the story unquestionably leaves an indelible mark. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Udden, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"[A] compelling story of terror, betrayal, and heroism... This brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted." - Kirkus

"Love, loyalty, bravery, and loss meld into a chaotic, heart-wrenching mélange of issues that unite some and divide others. A highly diverse cast of characters, paired with vivid imagery and close attention to detail, set the stage for an engrossing, unrelenting tale." - Publishers Weekly

"With narration firmly rooted in the moment and smooth transitions in and out of flashbacks, each first-person account reveals an intricate web of betrayal and pain that connects the four to Tyler and the horror he has unleashed." - The Horn Book Magazine

"A gritty, emotional, and suspenseful read and although fictionalized, it reflects on a problematic and harrowing issue across the nation." - Buzzfeed

"Marieke Nijkamp's brutal, powerful fictional account of a school shooting is important in its timeliness." - Bustle.com

"A compelling, brutal story of an unfortunately all-too familiar situation: a school shooting. Nijkamp portrays the events thoughtfully, recounting fifty-four intense minutes of bravery, love, and loss." - BookRiot

"The core message and potential to open thoughtful discussion make this a solid choice for teen readers." - VOYA Magazine

"Harrowing first-person narrations reveal the way characters try to understand what is happening, where they are in relation to the emergency, and what they can do to save those they love... readable, gripping, and well balanced." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"You'll finish this book in a single evening, guaranteed." - Paste Magazine

"Nijkamp's emotional, powerful debut fictionalizes an all-too-frequent occurrence in today's world. Her strong storytelling pulls readers into a school shooting, leaving them amongst the gunman's victims in Opportunity High's auditorium." - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

"Intense and compelling, this debut novel balances the senseless violence of a school shooting with uncommon acts of courage and compassion by a diverse cast of characters." - Common Sense Media

"With an ending that will leave readers rocked with fear, grief, chills and tears, this outstanding debut will hit close to home and is best suited for older teens." - BookPage

VOYA, February 2016 (Vol. 38, No. 6) - Stacey Hayman
Opportunity, Alabama, could be described as a small town, a place where most graduating teens want to leave in order to try their luck elsewhere. Returning from break, the students of Opportunity High have gathered in the auditorium, ready to listen to Principal Trenton’s standard start-of-the-semester speech, but nothing about this school day will turn out as expected. Knowing his peers would be together, one angry student locks the auditorium doors from the outside and begins to enact his plan for revenge against those who wronged him in the past. When the shooting begins, no one is safe. Told through multiple characters who have a direct relationship to the shooter, the book gives readers the chance to come to their own conclusions about who, what, and why. Alternating between the viewpoints in short time bursts builds tension as the list of victims continues to grow and it becomes clear anyone could be next. The narrators are given complex backstories, including a same-sex couple, and a number of the casualties are placed in context. It is a challenge to establish an understanding of some characters and their relationships due to the swift changes in voice, but the core message and potential to open thoughtful discussion make this a solid choice for teen readers. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Welcome to Opportunity High School. Meet Claire, a senior and member of the track team. Tomas is in the principal’s office looking for a file. Autumn’s family is falling apart since the death of her mother. Her father drinks and has become abusive, and all she wants to do is escape. Sylv has a crush on Autumn, but it’s her secret. The principal has finally finished her speech welcoming students and promising hope. And then it happens: the quiet hallways crack with the sound of gunshots. In just 54 minutes, these four students, along with everyone else, will go through a life changing experience. A fellow student, who is obviously broken, brings a gun to school and aims to shoot those he felt had wronged him. This Is Where It Ends reveals how this experience affects each of the four main characters and provides insight on their back-stories. Marieke Nijkamp invites readers into the tragic world of shots fired in a school setting. Young readers must decide how they would survive such an event. This is a subject that should be shared with teachers, parents, and students alike. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
11/01/2015
Gr 8 Up—It's the start of the spring semester at Opportunity High School in Opportunity, AL, and the school day is progressing as normal—until one revenge-minded student brings violence to this sleepy, close-knit community. This novel takes place over the course of 54 tense minutes, as four main characters (all of whom also conveniently have siblings affected by the shooting) narrate their harrowing experiences and consider their relationships with the shooter. Nijkamp populates Opportunity High School with a diverse representation of students, enriching the book with their varied experiences and reactions to the horrifying turn of events. The four main narratives are joined by text messages, tweets, and blog entries interspersed throughout, allowing for more viewpoints and commentary without narrative clutter. Although the work is devastating, it offers a small moment of optimism and closure at the end without resorting to an incongruous tidy ending. VERDICT With a thrilling narrative, topical subject matter, and diverse characters, this is a first purchase for libraries serving teens.—Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
2015-10-06
A minute-by-minute account of mass murder at a high school by a former student. Four students from a range of different backgrounds at Alabama's Opportunity High, all of whom have a history with Tyler, the gunman, take turns telling this harrowing story in the first person. They include his sister, Autumn, and her clandestine girlfriend, Sylv, who have only each other for solace as the home lives of both are in upheaval. Tomás, Sylv's brother, recounts his and his friend Fareed's desperate efforts to help from outside the school's auditorium, where their fellow students and teachers are locked in with Tyler as he picks them off one by one. Finally, Claire, Tyler's ex-girlfriend, realistically agonizes over what to do when she and a few others outside running track realize that the gunshots they hear are coming from inside the school. Grounded in the present, the story makes effective use of flashbacks that lay bare the pain and deception that have led up to the day's horror. The language can occasionally feel a bit melodramatic, with lines like "we're fighting for hope and a thousand tomorrows," but this is a minor side note to this compelling story of terror, betrayal, and heroism. This brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781492622468
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
01/05/2016
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
239
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

10:01—10:02 A.M.

CLAIRE

The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.

Track season starts in a couple weeks, but no one has told Coach Lindt about winter. He's convinced that the only way to get us into shape is to practice-even when my breath freezes right in front of me.

This is Opportunity, Alabama. Sane people don't leave their homes when it's white and frosty outside. We stock up on canned food, drink hot chocolate until we succumb to sugar comas, and pray to be saved from the cold.

Still, Coach Lindt's start-of-season training beats Principal Trenton's long and arduous start-of-semester speech-virtue, hard work, and the proper behavior of young ladies and gentlemen. After almost four years at Opportunity High, I can recite her words from memory, which is exactly what I did for Matt at breakfast this morning-responsibility, opportunity ("no pun intended"), and her favorite, our school motto: We Shape the Future.

It sounds glorious, but with months left until graduation, I have no clue what the future looks like. If Opportunity shaped me, I didn't notice. Running, I know. This track, I know. One step after another after another. It doesn't matter what comes next as long as I keep moving forward.

My foot slips, and I stumble.

From his position on the field, Coach curses. "Claire, attention! One misstep's the difference between success and failure."

Straightening, I refocus.

A familiar laugh colors the still morning. "Did you freeze up over holiday break, Sarge? A snail could catch up with you floundering like that." On the straightaway of the track, Chris falls into step with me.

I suck in a breath before I answer him. "Oh, shut up."

My best friend only laughs louder. The even rhythm of his footsteps and his breathing challenge me to find my pace. His presence steadies me like it always does. At six-foot-five and with sun-touched hair and blue eyes, Chris is not just our best runner but also Opportunity's poster-boy athlete. On uniform days, the freshman girls fawn over him.

With Chris by my side, my stride shortens. The other two runners on our varsity team are far behind us, on the other side of the field. Chris and I move in perfect synchrony, and the very air parts before us.

Nothing can touch us. Not snow. Not even time.

• • •

TOMÁS

Time's up. The small clock on the bookshelf strikes ten with an annoying little tune, and I thumb through the tabs in front of me at supersonic speed. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon.

It only took superglue-strategically squirted on the desk drawers of my favorite Spanish teacher, Mr. Look-At-Me-Strutting-My-Stuff-Like-A-Walking-Midlife-Crisis-for Far and me to find our way to the administrative office. But it took both our student IDs before we managed to jiggle the lock on Principal Trenton's door. And it'll all be for nothing if I can't find the file I'm looking for. I scan the folders in the filing cabinet. When an elbow pokes my side, I startle. "Dammit, Far. What the hell?"

Fareed rolls his eyes and gestures for me to keep quiet. Someone's in the hallway, he mouths. He tiptoes back to the door.

Crap.

How do I explain this? "No, ma'am, I'm not doing anything, just breaking into school records"?

Whatever. I'm sure I have a legal right to see my own permanent record, so I can always use that as my excuse. The fact that these folders just happened to be "Last Names, A—C" instead of "Last Names, M—N" is nothing more than a coincidence. No one knows whose file I'm looking for, except Far. And even he doesn't know the whole reason.

If anything, I can always "find" Al-Sahar, Fareed as a cover. The school administration can't even file his name right.

Still.

A door opens and closes. A lock clicks.

Footsteps squeak on the linoleum outside the administrative office.

Footsteps that pause before the principal's door-our door.

I quietly push the file drawer shut. Better not to stir up trouble-more trouble-if I get caught red-handed.

Far and I both hold our breath.

After what feels like forever, the footsteps move on. Whomever it was, they're not out to get us. Not today.

• • •

AUTUMN

"...it's all a matter of the decisions you make, today and every day. Your behavior reflects not only on yourself but also on your parents, your family, and your school.

"Here at Opportunity, we pride ourselves on shaping the doctors, lawyers, and politicians of tomorrow. And it's the choices you make now that will determine your future. You have to ask yourself how you can become the best you can be. Ask not what your school can do for you but what you can do for you."

Trenton holds the microphone loosely while she scans the crowd, as if memorizing every single face. So many students come and go, leaving nothing but the faintest impression, names scratched into desks and graffitied onto bathroom stalls, yet she knows us all.

All our hopes. All our heartbreaks. All our sleepless nights.

Her eyes linger on me, and my neck burns. I reach for the chair to my right, but it remains as it was when the assembly started. Empty.

To my left, Sylv groans. "After all these years, you'd think she'd come up with something more original."

"Don't you want to be the best you can be?" The words come out harsher than I intend.

She grumbles.

In truth, Sylv will have plenty of colleges to choose from. She's a shoo-in for all her dream schools. And I should be happy for her. I am happy for her.

But for me, college is the only way out of this misery, and Dad sure as hell isn't going to pay my ride. Not to study dance. "Look what happened to your mother," he'd say, as if I haven't counted the days, hours, minutes since Mom's accident. "Dance took everything from her. No daughter of mine is going into that business. Not if I can stop it."

So he tries to stop me-every day. And with Mom gone, there's no one to stop him. Not from drinking. Not from hitting me. There's no one to keep our family from falling apart.

I grip my crumpled coffee cup, grab the threadbare denim messenger bag from under my seat, and block out Ty's voice in the back of my mind. My brother would tell me that Principal Trenton's words are truer than I think, that the world is at my fingertips and it's up to me to make my future the best it can be.

I tried that and I lost. Now I'd rather escape.

• • •

SYLV

I sink deep into my seat and glance at the empty place next to Autumn. He's not coming after all. He'd have been here by now. He won't come. I'm safe here.

He won't come.

The knot in my stomach unfurls and recoils with every twist and turn of my mind. I could ask Autumn about Tyler, but she's lost in memories. Today is two years since the accident. She refuses to share her grief with me-or anyone. Even when she smiles, she isn't the girl she used to be.

And I miss her.

Some days, when she thinks no one is watching, she still moves across the floor as if she's flying. La golondrina, Mamá used to call her. The swallow. All grace and beauty. When Autumn dances, all her worry falls away and she shines.

I wish she could dance forever.

Madre de Dios, how I wish I could watch her dance forever.

Instead, it is another Monday. Life goes on. The assembly is over, and Autumn holds herself ramrod straight. I'm the only one who knows she'll fly out of this cage and leave us all behind as soon as she can.

Meanwhile, next period is the last review for my AP U.S. History midterm, and I haven't even touched my books. Mamá had another one of her bad spells over break. We were supposed to go into town together last Saturday, but when Abuelo brought the car around, she barely recognized him. She didn't want to leave the house. She didn't understand where we were going. I sat with her for hours, talked to her-listen, Mamá-told her the stories that wove our family around her. She was disoriented for days afterward, and I can't shake the feeling that with every day that passes, she slips away like starlight at dawn.

At least history suits me. You already know if those stories will end happily.

Meet the Author

Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, and is an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, the founder of DiversifYA, and a founding contributor to YA Misfits. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

This Is Where It Ends 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
zrugg13 8 months ago
The principal at Opportunity High School finished the speech. The students get up to leave the auditorium. The auditorium doors won’t open. They’re locked. Someone starts shooting. People look up to find a former classmate standing with a gun. In this book, I think the author’s purpose is that you can’t always trust the ones you love, even if you think they are the ones that will save you. “This is Where It Ends” tackles an all-too-frequent situation in American society — that of school shootings. “Tyler is back.” Tyler is out to get the people who hurt him most, but when others get in the way it doesn’t have a good outcome. What finally makes him go crazy? No one knows. Who all will make it out alive? What is Tyler’s secret? Dive in to find out. I think the book matches the authors purpose. It shows what happens when a brother and sister lose the connection and something bad happens. “This Is Where It Ends is a book everyone should read to get a better understanding of each other and the world around us. This book with leave you heartbroken. Read it to find out what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books cover caught my eye while browsing through New Teen Fiction. Once I read the overview I knew I had to purchase. This novel had me flipping the pages, kept my heart racing, and I could not put it down until I finished it. Well written, and not for the faint of heart! One of the best reads I have had in a LONG time.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Get your tissue boxes because this book is about to take you on a rollercoaster called "emotions"
Dianne57 10 months ago
While I was reading this book, I had to constantly remind myself that this book was written for teens not adults. The premise was horrific and timely; although with Sandy Hook (among other school shootings) I think it may have been a bit on the tacky side. However, like adults, younger teens like to hear gory details about things. This book will fit the bill for them quite nicely. For young adults and adults -not so much. Frankly though the cast of character's were interesting, the mindset and emotional aspects of them all seemed to ring false to me. But again, I have to keep reminding myself that these characters are not adults and would not have older adult thoughts, ideas and emotions. I would have thought that the will to live would have been too strong for these kids to do what they had done. What is very interesting is that this is also a look into bullying and it bears asking just who in this scenario was the true bully? No I did NOT like this book one little bit, but I can see how it will appeal to the younger crowd and perhaps those with young teens in the home. I would strongly advise any parent to read this book first before giving it to anyone under the age of 13
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most amazing and heart-touching books I've ever read. So sad and terrifying, yet somehow inspirational and relatable. This Is Where It Ends is beyond just the action and horror, it siezes up your heart and sends tears to your eyes. Great way to make you really rethink the common phrase, "That could never happen here!" Tip: Re-think your safety.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never wrote a review but I feel as if I have to for this book. I picked up this book because I found the cover to be beautiful and after reading the overview, I had no choice but to buy it. It is a fast pace, simply breathtaking novel that leaves you broken in the end. I had been having trouble picking up books lately but as soon as I began this one, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this to anyone even if YA fiction because it hits so close to home with recent events happening all around us.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
Heartbreaking, suspenseful, will keep you reading.
Anonymous 7 months ago
The beginning was a little slow but after the first 40 pages or so, it began to flow so well. You could begin to relate to the characters, identify with their feelings, and ultimately get completely engrossed in the story. I highly recommend - I couldn't put it down and read from cover to cover in one day.
claire1988 8 months ago
I really liked this book! I had not read anything like this before! It has 5 different P.O.V's I believe and I was not a fan of all of them. Overall a good book!
Badkitty70 11 months ago
An auditorium filled with students and teachers. One former student with a gun. 54 minutes of terror. My review leans more towards 3 1/2 stars. **Please note: this review contains some spoilers** Wow. I'm not sure where to begin. This story was truly intense and heartbreaking. It's told from the perspective of 4 different students who each have a connection to the shooter. I admit I initially had trouble keeping the characters and their relationships sorted in my head. It was all a bit confusing at first and I found myself having to go back to make sure I knew who was who. Once I was able to get passed that though, and the story started to flow, I could not put it down. The overall emotions were, at times, overwhelming. Fearful, confused, stunned, scared, angry, and just a general feeling of helplessness as Tyler focuses his cold fury at everyone who he feels wronged him was very powerful. I could not, and would not, want to imagine what that would be like. When it came to the connections, I felt that Autumn stood out to me the most. Perhaps it was because Tyler was her brother, but I just felt like out of the four, her story was more developed. I found myself paying closer attention to her parts than anyone else's in the book. Claire was the character I connected with the least and found my attention wavering when it came to her. I just couldn't get a feel for her for some reason. Maybe it's because she isn't in the auditorium and is more on the outside of the events. Maybe it's because her connection wasn't explored as deeply as it should have been. Either way, I feel the author missed their opportunity with her and didn't delve deep enough to make her character stand out. The same could be said for Sylvia and Tomas. Although Tyler was not one of the perspectives, he is a central character. He's the reason they all feel and experience what they do. He was both typical and not. His reasons are both stated and held back. His motives are given but at the same time, you never really get an idea of who he is and why he's that way. Not completely. He remains somewhat of a mystery...but let's face it, it's not his story. As far as the writing style, it was a bit jumbled initially and the execution was a tad shaky, but it was still a gripping read. Once you got a hang of the jumping between characters, it became easier to follow. The ending was tragic and left you breathless. At least it did for me. Some people have said that it was a disappointment and an insult to those who have been through it, but honestly, I don't think there is a way to get this type of story right. It's going to be a hit or miss for people. For me, it punched me in the stomach and left a lingering impact. When it comes to whether or not I would recommend this book, I really can't answer that. Considering the subject matter and the violence it contains, I would say read at your own risk.
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
Excellent Opportunity, Alabama At 10:00 am the principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech encouraging the student body to excel and achieve and also welcoming them to a new semester. The students get up to leave the auditorium to go to their next class at 10:02 am. At 10:03 am the auditorium doors won’t open. Suddenly at 10:05 am someone starts shooting. Over the next fifty-four harrowing minutes terror reigns when one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. This is a story that is very well told and gives different views from different students and how they manage to both deal with what is going on and their fight to survive. It pulls the reader in as they read what is happening minute by minute. This is story that will stay with readers long after they finish the book because of the impact it makes on them. It will also have readers wanting to read more from this author. This story has some unforgettable characters in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is now my favorite book
Chancie More than 1 year ago
A powerful idea with unique characters, but it feels flat, and I can't figure out why. It feels as though there are too many characters that don't get fleshed out as much as they should, and the narration switches too often to get truly invested. It has a strong writing style and handles differing character voices well, but it just didn't hit me in the gut the way I think it was supposed to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was sooooooo good! This was literally the fastest I have ever finished a book, I cannot wait until she comes out with more books!
booookworm More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
The plot of this story was good, but unfortunately it wasn't executed as well as I would have liked. Nijkamp writes about a school shooting, which takes place over about an hour. She alternates between 4 character's points of view, all told in first person. I had a hard time keeping track of who was speaking because the POV changed about every 2-3 pages, sometimes more frequently. When I went back to count, I was surprised that there were only 4 narrators. The problem I had was that all of the voices sounded the same. And the font was the same. Other than the character headings, I never knew who's head I was in. Even as the book progressed, the three girls kind of ran together. I enjoyed the back story on all of the characters, and the way that their lives were interwoven - one the ex-girlfriend of the shooter, one the sister of the shooter, one the sister's girlfriend, and one the sister's girlfriend's brother (and friend of the shooter, I think). I also enjoyed some of the ancillary characters. But I didn't feel a lot of emotion about what was going on. I was intrigued by the story, and I wanted to know how it would end, but I just expected to feel more. It was a quick read, but I don't think it will stay with me very long. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/04/book-review-this-is-where-it-ends-ya.html
KaylsKrazyObsession More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book via the publisher. This will not affect my review in any way. Characters: I really enjoyed getting to know each and every character. You learned a lot about each of them which led you to grow attached to them. You felt for them, and you felt their pain. Plot: I was crying the whole time I was reading this book. It seemed so real, and it kind of was given the world we live in today. This Is Where It Ends was so greatly written, I know it'll stick with me for a long time. People need to be more aware of these types of situations. Ending: There is no happy endings for shootings, but they do make you stronger. The ending really makes you think about life and what you can do in these types of situations. Overall: This was a beautifully written novel that everyone needs to read and never forget. It's amazing and sad, but it really makes you think. I loved it, and I read it in four hours. This Is Where It Ends was just fantastic.
HSMeloche More than 1 year ago
Marieke Nijkamp creates a fast-paced story filled with heart-pounding scenes, thought-provoking interactions, and hope.
ericamchapman More than 1 year ago
Seriously, you guys. My heart. Marieke paints words on the page and eases you from scene to scene and then she hits you at your core, and doesn't stop until she's done and you're left broken on the floor. It's a beautiful tragic experience and you will love every second!!
dorkapocalypse More than 1 year ago
As a writer, I admire what Nijkamp tries to tackle in This is Where It Ends. She includes a broad cast of characters that pull you into the story, while also setting up a fast, at times heart-breaking read. At the same time, writing about a school shooting in the course of a short time span will definitely have it’s flaws. There’s a lot of emotional heft that can’t really be developed enough. There’s a moment near the end where there’s a reveal of a past trauma, and I felt that it summed up some of the issue I had with this book. Trauma couldn’t be explored enough with the weight it needed. We could only get so much development. The ending reveal didn’t feel authentic and shortchanged Sylv. She really deserved more than that reveal. Also, after this and throughout the shooter felt hyper-villainess. I didn’t need him to be sympathetic, but I would have enjoyed further exploration of his character (but again that boils down to the time constraint this novel’s structure creates). Still, Nijkamp does a great job at setting up the world, characters and voices. I loved the that the MC’s were a lesbian couple and POC. All the characters had a connection in some way that worked with what the story needed. Autumn was the shooter’s (Tyler) sister. Sylv had been affected by Tyler negatively, and Sylv’s brother Tómas had bullied Tyler. Best part: how the characters represent the world we live in Worst: Inability to spend more time on the trauma that has happened in the school shooting. Wouldn’t mind a sequel to explore this.
Nim_ More than 1 year ago
I finished "This is where it ends" a week ago, but I'm still not over it. When a book impacts you like that, it's powerful. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a good book: I absolutely hated some of the books that impacted me a lot. In the case of TIWIE, it was a bit in-between. Honestly, I was really afraid to pick up the book. I'd heard a lot about the book already and mentally prepared myself before diving in. Of course, there is just no preparing for this. The book is brutally honest, graphic, harrowing and at times shocking. With all that, it did take a while before I was totally immersed in the story. Everything happens incredibly fast, so many things happening in the beginning! I had to go back a couple of times, because my mind could not grasp everything so fast. I actually thought this was pretty clever, since I could imagine how incredibly "overloaded" the characters feel: while I can double back and take a break from the book to think things over, they couldn't. The story wasn't 'one story', it was told from several POV's as well as through blogs, tweets and texts. The POV were a bit difficult in the beginning, because I felt the female voices weren't too different from one another. Still, once I got to know the characters I really appreciated the possibilities created by this. The inclusion of social media and the author's writing style also make the book feel very realistic. I was completely hooked from the beginning, my body in a state of shock and angst throughout. Another thing that made the book realistic was the missing POV of the shooter. I had expected this POV to be present and was a bit disappointed about this at first, but later realized that this actually makes for a realistic setting. What I mean is this: there is no ready-to-go explanation in cases like this. Often there are so many things that contribute to a 'breaking point' that a clear motivation would simplify the situation. By only providing subtle hints to possible motives, the author avoids oversimplification of such a complex situation and also steers clear of the minefield of real-life shootings. I thought this also made the book respectful to those situations. The characters are really diverse, which I usually love in a book. However, this book included almost all possible characters, which felt like too much for me. I'm all about diversity, but in a small town and such a small school, it's hard to imagine all these characters. Then again, I am aware that this is a specific kind of prejudice, so I'm going to leave it at this. It didn't bother me too much, but sometimes I was like "of course, we hadn't seen that yet", which just felt a bit weird. All in all, TIWIE was an emotional and impactful read with a really fitting and memorable cover.
MeganTheBookworm More than 1 year ago
Not sure what to think of this one! Postives: - Extemely addctive - I stayed up the whole night to finish it - A really interesting and important storyline! - Some characters had distctive voices. - I enjoyed the multiple points of veiws, which is unusual for me. Negatives: - The POVs for the female main characters were indistinguishable! - I found some parts a little unbelievable and unrealistic. - I found the character of the shooter to be too simplified - a typical villan with little character development Altogether, if you're looking for a fast paced read with important themes, this is a good one!