Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: With the rise in gun violence and the issue of gun control in the media, it’s not surprising that Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends ended up on my radar. Then, I found out that Nijkamp is an advocate of diversity in YA, and I knew I had to read her book.

Unfortunately, although This is Where it Ends features PoC and gay characters, the characters lacked depth. Also, with the story being narrated from four different viewpoints, it was hard to connect with any of the characters, especially when some of their voices sounded kind of similar. Furthermore, I didn’t like that the main characters were so obviously portrayed to be victims; each had their own sob story, and it was apparent that I was supposed to sympathize with them. I wish Nijkamp could have written This is Where it Ends in such a way that I would have cared about her characters even if they had trivial problems.

In addition to the four viewpoints, there were tweets, texts, and blog posts from students in between chapters, which were unnecessary to the story. The voice, however, that was clearly missing from the story was that of the shooter. Those involved in school shootings often have suffered from years of abuse or have mental health issues – and that appears to be the case with Tyler – but there seems to be some vital information missing in This is Where it Ends. What makes Tyer decide violence is the best solution to his problems? How does a loving brother and boyfriend become capable of so much cruelty in such a short amount of time?

Although I felt that This is Where it Ends wasn’t suspenseful enough and – as cold-hearted as it sounds – didn’t really care about most of the people that died, I did like the ending. There’s a sense of hope that the town of Opportunity will recover from the senseless violence with time.

This is Where it Ends was released on January 5, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire. 

Comments About the Cover: Its simplicity makes it eye-catching.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Sourcebooks) via NetGalley.


  1. Hm. I'm with you - I think I would really want the POV of the shooter as well because, as you said, they often have had difficult lives leading up to their decision to pick up a gun. Sorry this one didn't work as well as you'd hoped Z!

  2. I have this one on my nightstand, but I haven't been emotionally ready for it due to its subject. It sounds like it's trying to do way too much at the same time. I was worried about not connecting to the characters especially with shifting povs. I still feel like I should give this book a try. We shall see.

  3. Ah, well that's too bad. I imagine it would be difficult to write such a story, but I would think having the shooter's standpoint would be educational. Disturbing, but educational. I thought The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Canadian author Susin Nielsen handled this topic pretty well - no shooter standpoint, but it's told from the point of view of the shooter's younger brother and it is surprisingly heartwarming.

  4. I'm sorry you didn't really enjoy this one - though that sounds weird to say about the book, considering the topic. I'm curious about this one but I think I'll see if I can find it at the library as opposed to buying it.


  5. I've heard a lot of mixed things about this. Your review matches what everyone else thought. It sucks that this isn't great because it had the potential to be fascinating.

  6. While I am glad this book exists and that it is making an attempt at including more diversity, it's a little disappointing to hear that the author didn't include the POV of the shooter. I am thinking that would have really added to the story. I am not sure I am going to read this one.

    Thanks for the review!


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