Friday, January 29, 2016

Review | This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: January 5, 2016

Source: Publisher
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon 


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.  (Goodreads)

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

My Thoughts: From the moment I started reading This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, I was holding my breath. I felt tense. I knew what was going to happen based on the synopsis - I just wasn't completely sure how everything would work out in the end. That feeling never left while I was reading this story and I'm sure that 'I need to take a breath, I need to breath' feeling added to my overall feelings about this book. 

Obviously, I do not like school shootings. But I like this story. The book was great. And actually, the longer I think about this story since I've finished it, the more I like it. 

Author Marieke Nijkamp uses a four points-of-view story structure; each chapter shares from these multiple POV's. These four students are at different places in the school when the story begins and each are tied to the shooter in some way. The entire story takes place over about 54 minutes, and each chapter covers just a few of those minutes. The book begins shortly before the incident happens. We know what is going on all over campus before the shooting, while the shooting is taking place, and immediately after the incident.  

It is intense and just, wow. 

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As dark as this sounds, I have to admit that I loved this nearly 360-degree storytelling because this structure felt truer to the shock and terror while it was happening versus past-tense storytelling after the event has taken place. Many of us have unfortunately watched these real-life news stories as these scenes unfold, hearing reporters talk while we watch scenes of the outside of school buildings. With This Is Where It Ends, we are in there while this fictional occurrence takes place, and I appreciate the perspectives that these students bring as they are close to the shooter. I love that these characters keep talking to us (the readers) throughout the hour, as the incident transpires. I know some people may be thrown by the multiple POV's, and to be fair, it did take me a couple of chapters to figure out exactly who-is-who and what connection everyone has to everyone else. And everyone IS connected because this is a small town. THAT is ONE of the things that makes this story so riveting. 

The setting of Opportunity as a small town = MY town is a small town = this can happen anywhere.

While this is going on, everyone is struggling to understand the WHY of this event. Everyone knows the shooter - or they thought they did. So what did everyone miss? Is there something someone could have done or said to prevent this? Because people are dying and these young people are feeling the weight of it through their connection to the shooter. It is heartbreaking to read the thoughts of these young people, carrying around this guilt even before they have all of the information. These same young people are contemplating their futures and whether or not their friends and siblings are surviving at other places in the school, and WOW YOU GUYS, these are such heavy and intense things to be thinking on a regular school day. 

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This is not a happy story, but it isn't supposed to be. There is not an entirely happy ending. There are characters that die in here, and it is gripping and heartbreaking and shocking and very sad. 

I liked This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp because it is a great story, because it is relevant to this day and age, and because I love issues-contemporaries. Without meaning to, I kept switching back and forth, reading as a regular-reader and as a mother, which honestly was a little bit eye-opening since my children are school-aged. But I LOVE that I was able to feel emotions on more than one level (if that makes sense) while I read this book. I appreciate what the author did here, telling this story in this way. I hope a ton of people read it.

I loved the differing and multiple points of view. For me, that was the icing on the cake in terms of giving me an overall, complete picture of what happened at the high school in Opportunity. I understand that it may be the thing that keeps other readers from connecting deeply with these characters, particularly if this book is read at a quicker pace. I personally did not have trouble connecting with the characters and getting into their heads -- except for the shooter. I would love to know more about the shooter, and more of the shooter's thoughts. (Is that weird? Maybe that is weird. Forgive me if that is weird, you guys!) This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a great, eyes-glued-to-the-pages story for fans of those contemporaries that pack a punch and for those that love issues-contemporaries. 

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This Is Where It Ends will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Contemporary with Issues
Romance: Light, no triangle. (However, this is not a romance story.) 
Multiple POV's
Issues: School Shooting

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
is currently available for purchase. 

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I want people to read this one but I'm afraid they'll 
be scared of it because of the "school shooting" subject matter. 
It's really a great book! 

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