This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Book Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
This Is Where It Ends is completely heartbreaking, yet I could not put it down. It's a work of fiction, but it's also so real that it seems ripped from the headlines. As the parent of a teenager, I cried for each and every character in this book. I am also so thankful that the two lockdowns my teen's high school had to do ended up being minor situations.
It starts as any typical high school morning begins. Students show up, albeit begrudgingly for some, and head to the auditorium for a school assembly. They know the principal's speech, many seniors can recite it verbatim. No one expects to finally be dismissed, only to find the doors locked and a shooter among them. Trapped, these kids now face the most horrific event of their lives.
Told from the viewpoint of the shooter's sister, the shooter's ex-girlfriend, the shooter's sister's best friend, and the brother of that best friend, readers get an incredible perspective into the events as seen through their eyes. The sister and her best friend are trapped in the auditorium. The best friend's brother skipped and broke into the principal's office and knows what's happening but has no idea if his sister is alive. There's the ex-girlfriend who is on the track team and is on the track practicing with the coach and other runners.
There are actually two other voices, one is the daughter of a school teacher who is posting as the events occur and there are the Tweets from the news media who are trying to get any students to talk to them about what's going on.
There's another book I read on school shootings that stayed with me: Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes. I found This Is Where It Ends to be just as good, if not better. Marieke Nijkamp drew me in with the different perspectives, and she definitely did an outstanding job capturing the shooter. There are times my heart broke for him, but at the same time, what he was doing was so wrong, I couldn't help but hate him.
The other characters showed such strength while also dealing with the intense fear from the situation they were in. Each of these characters become real to me, and I couldn't stop reading. I simply had to know how things ended up, because one thing was clear, with the mentality of the shooter, no one was safe.
This Is Where It Ends is such a powerful novel. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book, along with a box of tissues, and be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride!