Sunday, December 27, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 5, 2016. 

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.

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 not an easy book to review. This is not an easy book to love and yet I do. This book is one huge punch in the gut. It’s hard to imagine that this stuff happens all the time. There have been so many school shootings and I can imagine if the survivors wrote a memoir about what they went through, this would come pretty close.

This book takes place over the span of 53 minutes and I couldn’t look away from a single minute, though I wanted to. The shooter is holding most of the students hostage in an auditorium. The doors have been bolted shut and as one student puts it, “it’s the perfect shooting range.” They are trapped. We get multiple POVs of some of the people in the gym, along with some people who aren’t there. But the people who aren’t there are terrified about the friends or relatives who are stuck in there. 

There are many POV’s in this book and it did take me a bit to figure out who was who and who was related to whom. The shooter is revealed pretty early, but the whys are what drive everyone in this book. Everyone from the shooter’s sister to the shooter’s ex girlfriend to the shooter’s victim ask themselves one question: what could I have done?? 

I won’t lie. There is a lot of violence in this book. The author doesn’t shy away from describing the sound of the bullets, the fear and the helplessness that every student is feeling, the sight of the blood and the bodies. Like every other school shooting, people die. Some of the ones who died knew the shooter and some didn’t. I was ugly crying throughout the entire book and since I was on an airplane, I was struggling (somewhat unsuccessfully) to control my tears. 

This book is powerful and emotional and incredibly heartbreaking. It is also terrifying. These students are trying to talk the shooter down and trying to figure out what the motive is and they are also just trying to survive. I won’t give away too much about the ending, but I will say that we are left with the knowledge that this shooting in this small town has affected every single person. All the survivors can do is try to move on, but I know that is easier said than done. I can’t really think of a thing I would change about this book . . . except maybe that I wish things like this didn’t happen.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one! It will tear your heart out, but it is worth it.


  1. nice review! sounds promosing

    1. Thanks foxingpages! It really is a good one.

  2. I loved this book too! And I agree that it's so heartbreaking because it's incredibly real and we wish it weren't.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Nicole, I am happy to hear that you enjoyed it as well. It was so real and moving. I just couldn't look away and the fact that it happens in real life so often makes it even more sad.

  3. SO. HAPPY. I mean, not that it will tear my heart out, but that you loved it! I have seen some VERY mixed reviews- so when I saw that you reviewed it, I was scared to open my email hahha. Because I want to read it but I wanted to like, FEEL stuff! So when I saw that you loved it, there was a bit of celebration, since I can gauge at least 95% of the books I read by what you thought about them hahha. So I guess I should read it soon and then sob for a week and a half, yes?

    1. YES! Shannon, I do think that you will love it. Not in the good way, obviously. But in the "oh my goodness, this book completely ripped out my soul" kind of way. I have read mixed reviews and I have noticed that people are upset because more detail wasn't given to the mindset of the shooter and we never really find out why he was the way he was. But I think that's kind of the point, you know? There really is never a good answer to these things, at least none that make sense. The victims ask themselves why too and there is just no resolution to that. I really, really think you will love this one like I did. And yes, be prepared with plenty of tissues. My problem was that I read this while on a PLANE. Thank goodness no one was sitting in the row with me. I didn't have to worry about people looking at me like I was crazy for sobbing over a book.