Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Published January 2016
Hardcover, 285 Pages
Summary: 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.
I feel really let down by this book, because it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it ended up not delivering. The cover was really well done and the summary itself makes you think that the story will be fast-paced and interesting, but it in fact ended up being the quite opposite. So before I get to what I did enjoy about the book, there were definitely a few things that I didn't like at all that need to be addressed.
1. The story progressed so slowly. The entire 285 pages of the book take place over one day -- in the fifty four minutes of the school shooting. That alone is a big indication that the book will drag on. But my point is that I would read the same moment from the perspective of ALL FOUR narrators -- so I basically lived each moment of the shooting four times each, from four different perspectives. Which got really old and redundant after awhile.
2. This is the 21st century -- it would not take the police as long as it did to respond. The book never gives any indication that the setting is older than the current time period -- it actually shows the quite opposite by adding several parts with Twitter feeds and blog posts (which I talk about further in #8). So why did it take so long for the police and reinforcements to get to the school to help? And why did they wait so long to go in? It just didn't make sense. I felt myself growing more and more frustrated the longer that the law enforcement didn't do anything, because you know that in a real life situation, they WOULD be doing something. (They also wouldn't have let Claire and Chris stay back on the scene -- they'd get them as far away from it as possible.)
3. There was no depth to any of the characters. You knew nothing about any of them other than that Silvia and Tomas were twins, Autumn was the shooter's brother and loved to dance, and Claire and Chris were kissing on the scene of a massacre because why the hell not?
4. You know nothing about what happens after the shooting is over. Does Autumn dance again? How does Silvia's mother take everything? WHAT HAPPENS TO EVERYBODY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
5. The author killed people off with abandon. Literally. I get that it's a school shooting, but basically every character you were introduced to ended up dead.
6. You don't ever really find out what happened to make Tyler the way he was. It's briefly alluded to that he was an outcast, but nobody ever said why. It's never elaborated on.
7. OR what happened to Sylvia. I won't spoil it, but this is kind of a big thing that shouldn't have been glossed over in a single sentence.
8. The Twitter messages/blog posts were seemingly unnecessary. Literally, what purpose did they serve other than to interrupt the natural flow of the story?
However, there were a few things that I enjoyed about this book, one being the diversity of Autumn and Sylvia's relationship. It's nice to see more and more authors out there reaching across boundary lines. I also really admired Tomas's love for his sister.
All in all, This Is Where It Ends disappointed me because it was a book that I was so excited to get my hands on, but it turned out to be super dry, dragged out, and boring. The book felt like more of a short story, glossing over details, than an actual novel. I know that I shouldn't be demanding super-riveting books about school shootings since that's gruesome and a really taboo topic, but I definitely wish this book had more flavor to it than it ended up having. I'm disappointed.
I hate writing negative reviews, but I genuinely had to write what I felt about this one. This book was not my cup of tea, but I know several people that did end up enjoying it, so I still encourage all of you to give it a fair chance if it's on your TBR before you disregard it.