This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
This is a book that I am finding difficult to review... Although I have had this sitting waiting to be read for such a long time, due to the nature of the book it did take me a while to get to.
When I heard about this book I instantly wanted to read it. Living in the U.K we are lucky enough not to have a gun culture, as they seem to have in America, however we regularly hear about school shootings. It is only something we can listen to and be shocked in disbelieve that someone would want to do something like that.
This made it a really interesting book for me, I wanted to try and understand it. I feel that this book has made me feel the fear that the victims would feel but I felt I was unable to develop many feelings at all for the shooter as I didn't get to know the character that well. Maybe that was the point of the story, to not be able to read the shooter at all and to instill fear in the reader.
The story takes place over 54 minutes and is about a school shooting, it did take me a while to get into the book as there are a few characters we jump to and from, in between that we had flash backs, where we discovered information about some of the characters and briefly the shooter. Throughout the book we come across some big secrets, ones that perhaps could have effected the event unfolding, or perhaps are the reason this is happening.
Once I got to grips with who was who, I could see links between the characters and did 'enjoy' the book. 'Enjoy' perhaps is not the right word, but I wanted to reach the end and read it in record time and find out what happened in the end. I found it difficult to relate to the characters, and not many of them were that likable. I did grow to like some of them as the novel went on.
This is a pacy book and I did enjoy that aspect of it. At times I couldn't believe such little time had passed as it felt it could have been hours, this was something I think that was very good. I would have thought in that situation that is probably correct, a few minutes would feel like hours.
I am not very emotional when it comes to books, they never really seem to grip me that much, however the last 20% of this book really got to me. By the end of it I had a lump in my throat, something which is a whole next experience for me when reading a book so it obviously had a big effect on me.
I liked the link between the characters and I also enjoyed the acts of bravery shown by some characters, the completely selfish act to save others, this gives the human race hope. This also reminds you as a reader, there are some good people out there who are willing to put themselves in danger for others.
This is a book, that if you read it will stay with you for a very long time, regardless what you think of it and surely then Nijkamp has succeeded as an author. I think this is a powerful debut YA novel, which is hard and emotional to read.
I really loved the epilogue, most books I don't think they bring an awful lot to the story, this one was different. It made that lump of mine get even bigger, but it was totally worth it. We were left with a few unanswered questions, however I can live with that.
This book is for the YA market, however on the back it is suggested 14 years and up. I would have suggested a slightly older age range just due to the brutality in the book. I know if I had read this at 14 it would have freaked me out and I wouldn't have wanted to go to school the next day.
This book is not perfect, far from it but overall this book is one you should read, it is a hard subject and perhaps one you will struggle through, but it is shocking and real.
I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.