This is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
One morning after the school “welcome back” assembly the students realize they are trapped in the school gymnasium and that’s when a lone gunman, a troubled student returning to school, enters and the nightmare begins.
In this day and age sadly this is going to be one of those books that are a personal thing (even more so than others) some people are just not going to want to go there and I understand that. This book is brutal. The violence is brutal. No one gets away unscathed. I just want to lay that out there.
Because it was a weird book for me.
I had some real problems with it. But I have to admit at the end I was sobbing along with the survivors. The story is told through multiple point-of-view characters trapped in this nightmare for a little under an hour. Thanks to the POV you still get a great insight into the students, the shooter, the town and why this is happening.
I preferred Autumn’s point-of-view as the sister of the shooter, whose inside the gym as well, she was the one I connected with the most. I wasn’t overly fond of the track sister (jeez, I can’t even remember her name) she was one of the rare people outside the school who had to run for help with her friend/ boyfriend. That one felt weird to me because under the circumstances they spent an awful lot of time talking about how great she was and their relationship.
I think that’s one of the real issues with books like these because you don’t really know how people react but you think you know how you’d react so it’s hard when it doesn’t feel emotionally right. I have some of those same issues with decisions toward the end but that’s spoiler territory.
I had a difficult time connecting with any of the main characters, besides Autumn, although many of the supporting cast of characters got to me.
The other thing that might have helped with some of my issues is a map or a layout of the school (hard copies might very well have that) but the copy I had on my e-reader didn’t. So it was hard for me to picture how this one student is able to barricade (almost) everyone inside of the gym. Not only that but he’s seemed to do the same with the school or at least blocked some of the exits and entrances to the school. Plus besides the track team he kills the only two other people who weren’t supposed to be in the gym and no one hears that but once he starts shooting in the auditorium the track team does hear…
Okay, maybe I’m being super nit-picky and I’m not trying to be. Sadly, maybe it’s for the best that parts not explained in too much detail. Like I said despite my issues with the book it still had me horrified and sobbing by the end.
Recommend: I seem all over the map on this one. Overall I think it was well worth the read despite my issues but just know that if you are going to read it- the book does not slink or back away from the violence and the pain of its subject matter.