Hello all! My first review is going to be the last book I’ve read; This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. This is a book that made it to my to be read list on a recommendation from my sister. I went into knowing nothing about it aside from it being about a school shooting. I’ll try to do this with as few spoilers as possible.
During this book, the point of view switches back and forth between four characters over the course of 54 minutes. In this high school in Alabama, the majority of the student body is in the auditorium for an assembly conducted by the principle. Shortly after 10:00 am the students begin to realize they are trapped in the auditorium and the shooting begins.
Through the alternating perspectives of Autumn and Sylvia, we experience the shooting from inside the auditorium. The two girls witness first hand the violence that the shooter rages on the school.
Tomas, though in the school, is not locked in the auditorium with the rest of his classmates. With the help of a friend he calls the authorities and devises a plan to get into the locked auditorium and free the trapped students.
Claire, is outside the school training for track when the shooting begins. Readers follow her and her track mates as they run for help, making a terrible discovery along the way.
This book, though I read it’s 280 some pages fairly quickly, was a hard book to read. By that I mean that the content isn’t something someone necessarily enjoys reading about. I did think the book was well written and though we were given background and insight to the characters, I felt like they could have been developed a bit more.
The author uses flashbacks to tell stories of how all of the characters are related. These flashbacks, though informative, fail to really paint the picture of the shooter’s thoughts. We never get to see inside the shooter’s head. I would have liked to have had his point of view for some of the scenes. I would like to know how he chose his first victims and why.
All that being said, I did enjoy the book as much as one can enjoy a book on such a grave topic. I feel like in this world today, books like this are needed. This book shows us that people are never really how they seem on the outside. We all have our own inner demons. We all suffer with wanting to be good enough in some form or fashion. This book reminds me of how important it is to be kind to each other regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!