|This Is Where It Ends
A quiet rural town is getting back into routine on the first day of school. The students and teachers are gathered together in the auditorium for the principal’s annual “Welcome Back” pep talk. Everything is normal, until the assembly ends and the teachers realizes that all the auditorium doors are locked from the outside.
There’s a shooter in the room, and this first day of school will tear the town apart.
I have never read a school shooting novel before. I like to read to escape real life, and unfortunately violence, hate, and bullying in schools are all over the news and social media sites. For some reason though, I picked up this book and decided to read it. It was a good choice!
This Is Where It Ends is written from four different character perspectives (with a few special sections interspersed throughout). Jumping from view point to view point normally makes the story too jerky and disjointed for my liking, but Marieke did a wonderful job of keeping her timeline in order. In fact, the timeline was one of the things I thought was brilliant.
The entire span of the book only takes place in one hour. Each chapter is broken up by different time increments (i.e. 10:32-10:35 A.M.), so you’re reading in real time. The different narrators are located in various places: inside the auditorium, outside the auditorium, outside the school, so you’re able to get a full spectrum of what’s going on. Brilliant.
The plot is violent (it’s all about a school shooting), and every single character feels misunderstood (typical teenager). Despite the heavy subject matter, it didn’t weigh down the flow of the story too much. Marieke did a good job of balancing dark backstories with hope and determination.
While this book isn’t a new favorite that I’ll reread over and over again, I am glad that I gave it a chance. It reminded me that I need to be part of the good in the world. It doesn’t take much to be kind, but it can make the biggest difference in the life of someone I’m kind to.
Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Published: January 5, 2016