by Marieke Nijkamp
Hardcover: 292 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (January 5th, 2016)
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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.
Dear This is Where it Ends,
So I'm not going to lie. You were really hard to read. Not because you weren't amazingly written or anything of those means, but because of the subject matter. Regardless of what anyone's views are, I can probably bet that we all hate the fact that so many school shootings are even happening. This has become our reality- our norm. It shouldn't be. It really, really shouldn't be.
You follow the story of a school shooting. One of the most terrifying things that actually HAPPENS to people. To children. All of the time. If that's not terrifying enough, reading you, This is Where it Ends, is. Your words are powerful. They split my heart open, each bullet punctuating how important it is that something in our world needs to change. The raw, harrowing account of how so many children were so heartlessly, mercilessly massacred is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's almost indescribable how your story made me feel.
Your main characters where great. I loved them all, Claire, Tomas, Autumn, Sylv, but I think the one that I connected to most was Claire. Granted, I can't run for the life of me (she's in cross country/track) nor can I think of any military things (she's a bad a** in her JROTC unit), but I connected to her emotions and feelings the most for some reason. I liked the fact that even though she was scared to death for herself, her brother, her friends, she still stepped up to the plate and tried to do anything she could to help everyone. Stepping up to the plate seemed to be a recurring theme inside your pages, This is Where it Ends. Every single one of your main characters puts their life on the line at one point or another or even multiple times. If that's not bravery, then I sure don't know what is.
Unfortunately, like with all books that have multiple main characters, I had a hard time keeping up with who was who. I know, I know. It was only FOUR, but everything is extremely fast-paced and it's hard to keep up with whose POV you're reading from especially when they are worrying about their friends/teachers/loved ones and name them too. Each time someone new was named, I kind of felt a little bit disconnected from the storyline a bit. I think it might have been a little better with maybe less main characters? Not that I didn't love them all. I just think you would've flowed a lot better by halving the amount of MC's.
But, then again, it's hard to keep up with all the names of kids that have been in real school shootings too. Isn't it?
Not everyone is going to be crazy about you. I get that. You're a book with an extremely hard subject matter. I know you're fiction, but at this point in our lifetimes, this is a tough subject for a lot of people due to how often this actually happens (at least, in the US). Some people might not be comfortable reading an in-depth account of a school shooting, and that's okay. But for the people that are interested in reading you? I think they will be shocked to the core. You cover a lot of emotional subjects despite the main one at hand. Bullying. Sexual Identity. Sibling love/hate/relationships. New love. Unrequited love. Diversity. They all make an appearance inside your pages, and I feel like that made your story so much richer.
Despite the amount of violence and heartbreak, I found myself unable to turn my eyes away. It was like watching it on television when a school shooting happens in real life, and no matter how much it sickens you to know what is/has happening/happened, you can't look away. You broke my heart into a million little pieces, and the heroics of courage, bravery, friendship, quick-thinking, and sticking together knitted the pieces back together again. The day might have started with darkness, but there's always light at the end.
This is Where it Ends, you are a book that needs to be read. Four pieces to you!