This Is Where It Ends
Written by: Marieke Nijkamp
Number of pages: 285
Average Rating: 3.65/5 stars
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Published: January 5, 2015
Read in March 2016
Summary according to Goodreads
10:00am. 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. 10:02am. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03am. The auditorium doors won't open. 10:05am. 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.
I really wanted to enjoy this novel, as I am usually a fan of psychological stories. I am a psychology major, and find issues such as school shootings, and the mental illnesses that affect the attacker, victims, and surrounding community. Teenager violence and mass shootings are far too common, and is something that society needs to figure out how to prevent. I have read many novels about this topic, both fiction and non-fiction, and at one point plotted my own novel. Unfortunately, this one did not meet my expectations.
The writing of this novel was very scattered, and it took a while before I was able to understand the relationships between the characters. I can understand the fear that these students had, but I could not relate to them emotionally as I never felt connected to them - even at the end of the novel.
The main character and shooter, Tyler, was not well developed or understood neither by the reader nor the characters. There was hardly any detail on his past, what led him to this moment, and why he chose that day to destroy lives. When writing a story with as difficult a topic as this, it is important for the author to devout a reason this happened, an opportunity where it could have been prevented, a silver lining in all of it - things this novel lacked.
The only positive I can give to this novel is that it kept my attention, and made me want to keep reading. It is a short read in comparison, and was not thought-provoking, so it was a very quick read. I borrowed this as an ebook from my library, so reading it on my Kindle helped me to turn the pages very quickly. As well, I have to give some serious cover love to the novel, because the design and symbolism is fantastic.
Overall, I did not find this novel to be at all insightful or sensitive to real life events, and instead focused too heavily on the character's personal relationships and life outside of what was happening in the auditorium. I would have preferred to see more of the lead-up to this event, with any flashbacks showing readers events relevant to what would happen in the future.