Saturday, October 14, 2017

This is Where it Ends Review

This is Where it Ends
By: Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity 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 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

For the first time in what feels like forever, although realistically is probably only a few months, I wandered into my local bookstore - Manticore Books- and perused the Young Adult section looking for something new to read that I'd never heard of before. I passed up the all Sarah J Maas' that I've been impatiently waiting to add to my collection in favour of This is Where it Ends. There was no price on this specific book so I had to ask the clerk how much it was (really, my boyfriend asked while I continued pulling book after book off the shelf to read the back covers) and I was more intrigued by the clerk's assessment of how disturbing it is that a book about a school shooting is readily available in the YA section of the store than the synopsis itself. I don't think my quick glance at the synopsis even really registered with me as to what I was reading until she pointed out the genre that I had been looking in. 

I didn't begin reading the book until late afternoon and I had it finished in about three hours. I didn't want to put it down. I am always a little put off by reading different POV's, especially as many as four, but in this book it became clear early on that four points of view were essential to get the full sense of what each of the characters is experiencing. It took me a couple of chapters to really grasp who each character was and memorize the names of the people in their stories, my memory is not my greatest attribute so it was perhaps a little more difficult for me than it may be for the average person, but once I got a feel for the characters and their lives I was able to grasp the situation from their standpoint much better. Given the small amount of time allotted to each character it was more difficult to form an affinity to any of them until midway to three quarters into the book, and even then while I certainly felt for what each of them was going through, I found myself caring more about the character based on how close to the actual shooting and shooter they were, both physically and emotionally. 

The only real disappointment I felt at all was the lack of story given to the shooter. Most of the other characters accounts all contained bad memories of the shooter making it seem as though he was just a bad person, with the exception of Claire whom he had dated. She had a few good memories but even those are tinged with the sense that there was something fundamentally wrong with the shooter, almost like it was predetermined at birth that he was going to do something dramatically wrong and hurt people. Adding a fifth POV from the shooters perception may have been beneficial in giving him a story, a reason to do what he did instead of it just being chalked up to a personality defect. 

I think one thing that people need to remember when they read this book is that it is a work of fiction. The author did not create this as a representation of every school shooting that has ever happened. It is something she made up. A story. This book no more portrays every school shooting than a romance novel portrays every romantic relationship in existence. The author did a great job in her descriptive of the thoughts and feelings that the students experienced and was sympathetic in her writing. It is a hard subject matter to write about, harder to write about it in a respectful way that isn't offensive to the audience, and the author did a great job with this book.  

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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