This Is Where It Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp
Expected Publication: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
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.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won't open.
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.
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It seems that lately, school shootings are becoming more frequent in our society. This Is Where It Ends gives the reader a very disturbing ‘eye-witness’ fictional account of one school shooting through the eyes of four very diverse high school students. Although this is a very impactful read, it does have its issues that I just couldn't get past.
For starters, I found the lack of timely police presence unrealistic, especially in an age when most teenagers have cellphones. This story takes place in a small town, yet it seemed to take forever for any help to arrive. Next, the author threw in some random twitter-like messages and what looked like blog posts throughout the story and I felt they did not contribute any value to the actual story and made the story choppy. Added in the mix, there were random gray boxes that I felt served no purpose whatsoever except to take up space kept appearing after every twitter-like message. Since I was reading an eARC, I’m not sure if the published work will have actual pictures instead of these annoying boxes, but in its current state I felt as though it prevented a smooth reading experience. And last but not least, there was some dialogue in Spanish thrown in. As a reader who does not know a second language, I found this inconsiderate. Yes, I could have gone and performed a Google translate, but why should I? It would have been a nice touch if the author would have translated for the reader or perhaps just kept it all in English.
I applaud the author for presenting very diverse characters in the story, but I felt they fell flat and were under-developed. Although there are four main characters, the story has many minor characters and it was difficult to keep up with them. Although the main character’s flashbacks provided some insight on what makes them ‘tick’, at times it came across as a ‘poor me’ mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I really felt for some of the characters, but some of them just came off as your typical whiny teenager and I just couldn't feel that sorry for them.
For the most part, this was an okay story that was intense and despite the minor nuisances kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time. It’s a very traumatic but timely story that has a lot of potential but unfortunately fell short of the high expectations I had for it.
Marieke Nijkamp a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, and diversity advocate. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies.
Her debut YA novel THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS will be out from Sourcebooks Fire in 2016.