Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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Synopsis: 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.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
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.

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: *Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!*

The cover of this book and the title might have been what drew me in initially, but it was the contents of This Is Where It Ends, the haunting text and unfortunate characters that kept me turning pages. Let me just say that this book is NOT your fluffy summer read, perfect for reading on the beach (In fact, it comes out in January, one of the coldest months of the year.) It’s brutal, honest, and heartbreaking. Violence fills the pages, along with tragic backstories, terrified narratives, and acts of daring selflessness. Our main characters, Claire, Sylv, Autumn, Tomás, and occasionally Mei and other character via social media sites, all paint a harrowing tale as they and their classmates are held captive by an angry gunman… who also happens to be Autumn’s brother. Everyone in this story is well crafted, and all along, I was seriously hoping that everyone at Opportunity High would make it out alive. Of course, that wasn’t to be, but even so, the deaths that did happen were handled in a way that wasn’t too gruesome. Some of the deaths were very emotional though, and you’ll find yourself really feeling for both those who have lost their lives, and those left behind in the aftermath.

To speak, of the characters we meet here, I really liked the diverse characters in the novel, both racially and sexually. We have multiple ethnicities and lgbtia characters, which I feel might also make this book more appealing to a wider variety of readers, as there is representation of a variety of different groups. There are also a variety of interests, such as dance and social media, which are all used as plot elements in a variety of ways through. All of these elements are used by the author to create dynamic and realistic characters.

Marieke Nijkamp has done a great job of putting the reader right in the characters’ shoes. While of course no one ever hopes to experience a school shooting firsthand, this book is probably the closest you could ever get. You might be sitting comfortably in your living room, sipping a cup to tea, but you’ll feel on edge, smelling the fear and death and blood in the air. You will not walk away from this book squeaky clean and untouched. While this book is branded as a young adult novel, it could be easily read by adults as well as teens. I would recommend this to anyone who loves thrilling, emotional reads, or, honestly, to anyone. This is a book that I believe will explode in popularity in 2016.

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