Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
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.
This Is Where It Ends is tense, explosive, shocking, and heartbreaking.
The way this book is written is striking. The reader is shot between different points of view, inside the auditorium, outside, way from the school, and back in so fast it's like time isn't passing. Because it isn't, not quite. So many things happen during these 54 minutes. So many thoughts, worries, fears, tears, hopes. So many tears cried. So few words spoken aloud for fear of being the next victim. For not wanting any of it to be true. But it is. We only get glimpses of the characters, who they are in those moments and what they're thinking about, who they're worried about. That's all we get. Which is okay for me. That's what I expected. Of course, I do still wonder what might've happened next, what questions would've been asked in the days to come. Who would've survived and who would've been lost, physically or mentally.
It's very likely that this is the most frightening book I've read in the last few years. It comes from the news events of the last few years, the increase in gun violence, the immediacy that social media has brought to events like shootings and riots and press conferences. This story feels so honest, so real. And it's sad that I'm not surprised by how real it feels. How easy it was to believe that, yes, this could absolutely be a real shooting at a read high school in America. That is what scares me.
It's hard to talk about this book objectively. I think it's safe to say that this isn't the kind of book I generally read, a hard-hitting, realistic YA. Did I like it? I'm not sure. Would I recommend it? Yes. This book is sad and surprising and full of terror and fear, but it's one of those frighteningly honest stories that I think people should read.
(I received an e-galley of this title from Sourcebooks through NetGalley.)