Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Read:  July 17th - 19th, 2015

Type:  Kindle

Source:  I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating (out of five stars):

Where to find the author:  Website | Twitter

View this book:  Goodreads | Amazon

Note:  This book may be triggering for some, as it deals pretty realistically with school shootings.

Impactful.  Emotional.  Harrowing.  These are a few words that describe This is Where it Ends.

This is going to be a difficult book to review.  It was a difficult book to read.  It made me feel physically ill - not because it was graphic, but because it is frightening to realize that this could happen.  That this has happened.  This may be a work of fiction, but just because these characters don't exist doesn't mean that this story isn't real.  It's terrifying to know that people have experienced something similar to this.  It's terrifying to know it could happen again.

As this book shows, no one ever expects this kind of tragedy.  No one expects someone to wake up one morning and decide to end the lives of others.  No one expects a classmate, co-worker, friend, or family member to commit this terrible crime.

This is Where it Ends spans the harrowing 54 minutes during which the shooter carries out his act of terror, and it is told from the point of view of four different students.  They're all linked to the shooter in various ways, and each of them will be forever changed.  By having multiple points of view, we're able to see what's happening in different areas of the school, and realize that even though someone isn't in immediate danger, there is still terror, and concern for those left inside.

I imagine this was a hard book for the author to write.  I know it was a hard book to read.  It feels wrong to say I enjoyed it, because it was definitely not an enjoyable story.  But I did get attached to the characters, and it did make me cry.  It made me think, and I have a feeling this book will stick with me for a while, as it elicited such strong feelings.  Part of me didn't want to put it down because I wanted to know what would happen, but the other part of me had to take breaks from it, as it was so heartbreaking at times.

While some things a couple of characters did felt out of place during an active shooting, who's to say what they would do in the same situation.  With all of the fear, adrenaline, and uncertainty, it's hard to imagine what we would or wouldn't do in the moment.

Though the story is hard to read, the author did an excellent job of telling it.  She is a wonderful storyteller, and I will definitely be interested in reading more from her in the future.

This is Where it Ends wasn't perfect, but I still feel it's worth a read, and I would recommend it, especially to those looking for more diversity in books.

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