Saturday, January 9, 2016

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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.

The auditorium doors won't open.

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.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3 stars, because I have NO idea how to rate the book with it impossible to do so when my usual rating scale is based on entertainment value.

This is Where It Ends is obviously not a book meant for everyone. There is a small target audience who could/should read it due to its tough subject matter. I'm not entirely sure how to write a review, to be honest, and it's not often I'm at a loss on how to express myself with the written word.

This is Where It Ends is 54 minutes during a school shooting, in the point of view of the victims and the perpetrator. The writing flowed well, but that doesn't mean the book was easy to read in the emotional sense.

In the United States, we have been plagued with school shootings, and this has left a sense of fear in all of us that we try to ignore. But in reality, school shootings happen and children's lives are cut short by emotionally damaged peers. Collectively, we all have responsibility in how we behave and treat others without thinking of the ramifications. The victims are not to blame, but killers are made not born, and we must stop being someone else's emotional trigger. But in this story, I do wish the motives behind the attack would have been explored more. What turned the child into a killer?

Nijkamp's novel had a wealth of potential, and it was in no way exploitative, but wasn't executed properly. I felt the concept was far larger than the book. It didn't elicit the emotions that should have been torn from the reader because of a failure to connect due to character development issues. Though multiple-POVs, with a diverse cast ranging from lesbian to disabled, the story unravels what occurs during a school shooting.

For me, the use of so many POVs had me disconnecting, as the shorter page count couldn't support so many viewpoints without showing more emotion and character development, making it a jarring read. The transitioning from one point of view to the next wasn't fluid, nor did they each have a distinctive voice (if you read their words, they all sounded similar instead of the reader knowing who was narrating without being told).

Did I enjoy reading This is Where It Ends? No, simply because it was a difficult book to read. Am I glad that I read it? Yes, from an intellectual standpoint. Do I recommend this title? With a book with this subject matter, it truly is subjective to the individual reader.

It took me a little bit to find my feet with this book because it is told from various viewpoints. But once I got straight in my head who was who, the story flowed well. It is suspenseful and had me eagerly turning the pages. Even though we only get snippets of each of the characters, it was enough for me to be emotionally invested in the story and rooting for their survival.

This story did not provide any meaning of life type stuff or big revelations about life. This is Where It Ends shows us the horror, fear, helplessness, love and bravery these characters experience in a very short period. I'm glad I gave this story a shot and I have no doubt I'll think about it the next time I see a school shooting on the news.

Where do I start? This is a difficult book to review, I will honestly say that.
Many different characters and their points of view made the beginning a bit of a challenge, but once I was able to get them straight the rest of the story was OK.

This IS fiction. It isn't meant to be taken as THE authority on school shootings – this is for entertainment value only.

After I got to know the characters, I couldn't put this down.
Family ties, deep seated mental issues, and overall teenage angst all culminated in teleporting me back to high school.
Overall, this was an emotional story, the characters may have been a bit one dimensional (certainly the "shooter" was), but this was a terrifying journey into the middle of an awful situation that is unfortunately occurring too often in our society.

This was not an easy read, nor is it easy to review. It is definitely not a book for everyone. It is based on a sensitive subject, but isn't mean to be like a testimony from a school shooting victim, but a fictional story for the reader's entertainment.

I really struggled in the beginning of this book due to the frequent switching of points of view between characters. After a while, I sorted it out, but it wasn't a smooth transition. Once I was able to switch smoothly, the writing and story flowed freely and I was "entertained" enough to keep reading until I finished. I feel as though entertained is the wrong word to use for this subject matter, but the story, overall, was a quicker flowing read for me.

Emotionally, this was not an easy read. I felt that it did bring forth gripping emotions in me, but they were somewhat muted by the juvenile, somewhat under developed characters. I felt for them, but it wasn't as much as a strong devastating emotion that I would have felt with a more developed and/or beloved characters.

Overall, I'd say it was a good read. Especially for a younger teen/YA reader's standpoint as it is emotional, but not too much for them to handle. It is not a book for everyone and had its gripping, terrifying moments. It definitely stayed with me and had me thinking for a while. I definitely won't forget how it made me think and feel.

My first fence book of the year…And here we go. Some of the writing is chilling, quite frankly meeting a kid with a gun in a locked room full of children is painfully now a reality. Why talk things out when you can hold all the anger inside you until you combust. The bigger event should be that we are not teaching our kids how to deal with emotional issues. Cries of help unheard here. The author doesn't even use anyone we can connect with but someone who we can't. I was hoping for a better read but we got various viewpoints from everyone involved in the story...I'd have rather followed one character. Still, I think there are benefits of reading this book, and I can't say enjoy would be a word to use when reading a book of this sort. Enlightened then. Three stars.

Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends, a contemporary story that follows four teens over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting, is published by Sourcebooks Fire.

Connect with Marieke

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp to read and review.

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