Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 285 pages
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
This Is Where It Ends is one of the most hyped up YA releases of the year, and since it came out about two weeks ago, I was excited to read it too.
This Is Where It Ends is the story of a shooter coming into a high school to avenge all the people that bullied him (in his opinion) over the years. Marieke Nijkamp follows an array of characters as they all respond to this stressful situation, including the sister of the shooter, her girlfriend, a guy who bullied him and someone who is outside and tries to help the kids in danger. The time is mentioned before each chapter which drives home the fact that the events take place in a very short time and that a lot can change in even just a hour.
What is great about this book is its haunting quality. After I put the book down, I was still thinking about the schools and all the kids that didn't make it out alive. The writing has a great balance between enough detail to make you care and yet leaving enough to the imagination so you're not grossed out the whole time. Part of this haunting quality is also the fact that we follow several characters. While I'm usually not a fan of this narrative technique, it worked really well for this story. You see characters who are really involved and who are on the outside and it gives you a real grasp on the severity of the situation. I also enjoyed the little 'breaks' from the characters near the shooter to the ones more removed. It's very tense to keep wondering who is going to die next and those breaks give the reader room to breathe and collect themselves before reading on.
The only downside is the fact that I couldn't relate to anyone all the way. The book is short and we spend little time with all the characters which means we barely scratch the surface on each of them. However, in this story this seemed to have mattered little, since you can always remember who is who and can relate to the goals they have.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I wish it was longer so I would have gotten to know the characters better and even get some more background on the shooter. We never hear his voice, which is a technique that I can appreciate, but I wish his sister would have told us even more about him. This book is dark, haunting, serious and so basically everything that people say YA never is. Marieke Nijkamp proves them wrong and really takes you on a dark and twisted journey.