This Is Where It Ends
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity 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 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This Is Where It Ends Details

TitleThis Is Where It Ends
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 5th, 2016
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
ISBN149262246X
ISBN-139781492622468
Number of pages285 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

This Is Where It Ends Review

  • Khanh (the Grinch)
    November 2, 2015
    This book is a travesty. This book is, quite frankly, an insult to all the victims, direct and indirect, of school shootings. School shootings are a fairly new epidemic, one of the most well-known being Columbine. It is also a morbidly intriguing one; the psychology of the people that committed said acts are deeply complex, and not to be taken lightly in exploration.And yet that's what this foolish, belittling, dare I say, stupid little book does. It boils down the intricate psychology behind sa This book is a travesty. This book is, quite frankly, an insult to all the victims, direct and indirect, of school shootings. School shootings are a fairly new epidemic, one of the most well-known being Columbine. It is also a morbidly intriguing one; the psychology of the people that committed said acts are deeply complex, and not to be taken lightly in exploration.And yet that's what this foolish, belittling, dare I say, stupid little book does. It boils down the intricate psychology behind said act, behind the perpetrator down to "he was evil." Boom. Simple. That's it, right? That must be it. One does not simply wake up one morning and decide "I'm going to kill my classmates." It is a simplistic, idiotic, fatally flawed frame of mind. Any minute bit of research, the dumbest fucking idiot in the world has access to a Wikipedia page, and even the merest glimpse into one of these pages would show that the reasoning behind these acts is not simply "he was evil."This book is all black and white. The victims are good, sympathetic, pathetic, nearly indistinguishable from each other in their blandness. I feel this is a betrayal in portraying this way. The victims are diverse, they led different lives, they have hopes and fears and imperfections. Some of them are good. Some are not. Some are bullies, jerks, assholes. The writer of this book doesn't show that. Just because they're victims, they are all milquetoast in their mournability once they are lost, and to be honest, I can't recall any of them with clarity because there are so many of them and they're all utterly unmemorable. I can't remember their deaths. It is a crime to portray the victims in that way. The shooter is evil and bad. Has been evil and bad, and will have grown up to be more evil and bad had he have gotten away and lived.The book is sensationalistic. Like come on, when the bad guy is about to kill you, would this moment really have happened? Like, REALLY? “You know, sweaty chic doesn’t suit you,” I muse.Tyler falters, though only for a moment. “I should have known. Come to protect your sister? What are you going to do—hit me again?” Again, this is just speculation, but to me, this is nothing that dramatic bullshit to make the book read better.Tyler. The perpetrator. My god, what a one-dimensional character he is. Dare I say, murderers are always complex people. We read crime novels, mysteries, we watch mystery shows because it's the motivation of such an act that fascinates us. Some of my favorite book series in the world are murder mysteries because they are so addictingly macabre in their portrayal of the psychology behind such an act.Tyler's character is as fleshed out as a vegetarian steak. He did it because he was bad. He did it because he wanted to be visible. Bullshit. People don't just kill because they wanted to be seen. They kill because they were bullied, oppressed, whether real or felt. They kill because of real or imagined slight that was amplified enough to fuel their rage to want to kill. They kill because they were abused, over and over, until the rubber band of their mind snap. The psychology of such an act is so complex, and this book fucking misses the point completely. The diversity of the book - students of different color - feels so false. Token persons of color, that's all. This book deserves to disappear from the face of the earth.
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  • Emily May
    July 10, 2015
    We're not just fighting for survival - we're fighting for hope and a thousand tomorrows. I am so disappointed. So so disappointed. This Is Where It Ends promises a look at a frightening and very real problem in the U.S. - school shootings - written by a We Need Diverse Books member. It should have been amazing. It could have been amazing if it wasn't dampened by cheap, sensational writing and a black and white sense of victims and villains.School shootings are horrific things that open up so ma We're not just fighting for survival - we're fighting for hope and a thousand tomorrows. I am so disappointed. So so disappointed. This Is Where It Ends promises a look at a frightening and very real problem in the U.S. - school shootings - written by a We Need Diverse Books member. It should have been amazing. It could have been amazing if it wasn't dampened by cheap, sensational writing and a black and white sense of victims and villains.School shootings are horrific things that open up so many questions. What does it take for someone to snap in such a way? What can possibly make someone turn a gun on their classmates and teachers? What is it about these people that makes them different from everyone else? Are they that different? In other circumstances, could that be me?But this book never looks at such things. This is a very underdeveloped tale of drama. Right away, the different narrators tell their own sympathy stories - each is hurting, abused, though not really flawed, and diverse (and often victimized because of it). No mistake can be made: these are our victims. And they all have the same narrative voice.On the opposite side, you have the shooter - Tyler Browne. He is vindictive and one-dimensional, walking around smiling and enjoying himself as he murders kids. As his past is revealed, it becomes clear Tyler is also abusive and a rapist. He is almost cartoonish in his villainy.We are never taken deep inside his mind to see what made him do it. The flashbacks show that he was once different, but a piece of the story is clearly missing - when and how did he become this way? When did he go from being Autumn's loving brother to someone who deliberately antagonizes his father to get him to beat his sister? Some answers are given, but they are vague and superficial. Documentaries and articles on the subject of school shootings often reveal that the shooters were bullied, victimized or simply unloved and ignored. They are usually consumed by sadness and anger that eventually explodes. This is quite a simplistic explanation and yet Tyler isn't even offered that. He is simply an evil shooter. It makes me feel very sad that he isn't given more humanity.So much potential to look at an important issue and the psychology of teen shooters is wasted on cheap thrills. So many serious issues are brought up - abuse, rape, racism, etc. - and yet the pages remain devoid of emotion. This book is like a shallow action movie where there are people with guns and others running around trying to survive. That's it. No depth.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest
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  • Regan
    February 24, 2016
    3.5
  • Rose
    May 26, 2015
    Initial reaction: I think my reaction to this book can be best summed up in something that I said in the context of the discussion I had with a few of my readerly friends:"I think this might be a classic case of an author who tries to write a story that's bigger than their ability to tell and trying to incorporate too much without any rhyme or reason to it."But I will say this very clearly:This is NOT a fair portrait of a tragedy befalling its cast.This is NOT a good psychological portrayal of t Initial reaction: I think my reaction to this book can be best summed up in something that I said in the context of the discussion I had with a few of my readerly friends:"I think this might be a classic case of an author who tries to write a story that's bigger than their ability to tell and trying to incorporate too much without any rhyme or reason to it."But I will say this very clearly:This is NOT a fair portrait of a tragedy befalling its cast.This is NOT a good psychological portrayal of the tough themes and choices the book touches upon in the scheme of its events.This is ABSOLUTELY NOT a good portrayal of diversity, it's more of a offending reference of "otherness" and bland identity than anything else. And ye Gods, I'm angry at the portrayal here.This is NOT a story I would recommend on its subject matter to be taken as a mature, resonant narrative on its themes. Try reading Jennifer Brown's "Hate List" instead.Full review:This is probably the point where people are saying "Okay, Rose. You have some explaining to do, because this actually sounds like a good book."Initially, I thought so too, that's why I requested it as a galley. I was pumped over this book, something similar to my initial excitement to Katie Stout's "Hello, I Love You" (and we know how that experience turned out.)This book is much harder for me to expound on its problems because there are two issues plaguing the better part of this narrative: the way it portrays the school shooting and the way it portrays its respective characters on an individual level as well as for the measure of including "diversity."I'm going to start with the school shooting aspect of the narrative because that's the easiest one for me to point out the problems for. "This is Where It Ends" is an ambitious narrative, narrating from the perspectives of several teens who are caught in the crossfire of a student (Tyler) who returns to school to enact revenge on his student body for "not being seen" (this is a very terse summary of it, but truth be told, Tyler has very little motivation and this I'll get into when I talk about the characterizations). It's weird how this narrative chose to tell all of its respective conflicts without much suspense or development. I felt like I was never immersed in the environment of the school or the students' experiences, more like I was talked at for the entire time of how much "potential" or "possibilities" these teens had before this madman of a character barges in with a gun and starts shooting. It's an all or none scenario, and not only unrealistic, but it skirts the complexity of the situation for what actually happens in real life.This book was emotionally manipulative because it was telling me what to think or feel about the scenario instead of allowing me an eye into the character's minds and experiences of the peril they were in. Same with trying to understand WHY Tyler snapped the way he did. I don't think the deaths were even that resonant because I never got to know the characters or their relationships beyond very jagged inserts that seemed to weave in and out of the narrative without any consistency for portrayal. That made it very hard for me to hold interest in the narrative, and made the 54 minute ordeal drag out for much more time than it should've. (That's the downside of using a timeline and "head-hopping" between characters with very generous overlap and similar voicing.) Plus, when Tyler's described in the killing of his student body, the portrayal is very mechanical. I get that Tyler's actions are mechanical, that he's numb because of a number of different things (abuse, loss, neglect), but does the PORTRAYAL have to be mechanical? This is where I think Nijkamp messed that up because it didn't have to be. The scenario could've had more weight if it'd been more intimate to the character experiences. The problem was that there was NO intimacy with the characters, and an odd distance that prevailed in the narrative the entire time. It's talking at you, not showing you. Big no, no in this type of narrative.Tyler's character was just completely bland for motivation to begin with and I had a hard time believing that he was anything but a "bad guy", from the fact that people somehow automatically knew the one shooting up the school was him to (view spoiler)[ him sexually assaulting a girl (hide spoiler)] - you don't get any insight on his character other than the fact that he's immoral, evil, messed up - something that undermines the entire situation for the complexity it really has, whether on the level of mental illness or the relationships that Tyler has in his life and what pushed him to his breaking point. As for the characterization, ye Gods this was the worst part of the novel by far. That's important because this kind of story hinges so much on characterization and trying to understand the backgrounds, quirks, definitions, emotions and actions of the characters when they're backed up against the wall. On one hand, you could probably hear me praising the skies that the author included the presence of POC characters and characters of different sexual orientations. But the presentation was so bland and skewed that I'm saying it's hurting the diversity leaning more than helping it. So much narrative space was dedicated to overemphasizing their "otherness" that the inclusion felt not only forced, but stereotypical and - dare I say it - prejudiced. Telling me fifty billion times that a character loves another girl and that they fit together does not convince me of the relationship - you have to SHOW those interactions, bring them to life, create context and value for them to make them more vivid. The repetition doesn't do anything for the characters themselves or showing their experiences and feelings. Using a bunch of random Spanish words (Madre de Dios got old very quickly, and how many teens do you think would say that?) and ill attributed stereotypical mannerisms does not convince me that you know how to write a Latino/a character. And I especially CANNOT with the way this narrative treated Fareed's character. If you have to define his "otherness" with references to what you think is respectful in terms of defining the religion and/or practices of "his people", you've got serious problems portraying diversity. I feel like I don't know even know what ties these characters together besides what the narrative gives in terms of their "otherness". POCs and characters of different groups (whether by religion, creed, sexual identity, sexual orientation, etc) are not set pieces that one can just throw in a story willy nilly and automatically consider it inclusive. It's not a laundry list and it's not something you can just check off whenever you feel like it - it's all about the portrayal of the characters, the way they define themselves, their experiences and how they interact and deal with life and the situations they encounter. And this narrative did a mediocre job of all of that.I'm just beyond disappointed in this story for not only what it chose to show, but also what it didn't. I was pulled into the story for the promises, but the connection was either lacking or absent, and that does not make for an enriching experience on such a tough narrative.I would highly recommend Jennifer Brown's "Hate List" instead of this narrative, because it actually took the time to responsibly develop and delve into the difficult issues within its respective events while giving dimensional characters the reader could care about even if the scenario itself was hard to watch and come to terms with. Plus, you could more easily identify the characters and their respective voices without necessarily feeling like you're hopping around.This...was just sadly lacking for a debut and tried too hard to be too many things at once, without even really making the lasting impression it aimed for.Overall score: 1/5 stars.Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from Sourcebooks FIRE.
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    July 16, 2015
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Here’s another book I read nearly a month ago and never reviewed. This time it wasn’t because I’m lazy even though I am, it’s because I feel bad giving this one a negative review. But a negative review is what I must give when I read a book about a “Columbine” type school shooting and . . . . This Is Where It Ends was easily my most anticipated YA contained in the BuzzBooks sneak preview. I requested it immediately and was thrilled to Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Here’s another book I read nearly a month ago and never reviewed. This time it wasn’t because I’m lazy even though I am, it’s because I feel bad giving this one a negative review. But a negative review is what I must give when I read a book about a “Columbine” type school shooting and . . . . This Is Where It Ends was easily my most anticipated YA contained in the BuzzBooks sneak preview. I requested it immediately and was thrilled to receive an advanced copy. I love books that push the envelope with respect to subject matter and I figured this was definitely not going to be stereotypical YA fare. And while it did deliver a story free of instalove and Mary Sues, it had a lot of problems.1. Did you know Opportunity, Alabama is a real melting pot? Yeah, no one else does either. I’m all for books having a lot more diversity when it comes to characters, but don’t set it in a town where 80% of the population is white . . . 2. Speaking of the town, it’s also small. Like under 7,000 people. Do you really think a single gunman type of school shooting would last for 54 minutes? In 2015? Where nearly every child is going to have a cell phone handy and be able to call the local po-po??? 3. Back to the characters. Diverse = good. Multiple narrators with little to no development = cardboard cutouts. Cardboard cutouts are bad – well, mostly . . . Speaking of cardboard cutouts, Mitchell would like this for Christmas: So bottom line is This Is Where It Ends was a book with a lot of potential (and a most excellent cover) that wound up being nothing special. If you want a YA book about a school shooting that is special, check out Jennifer Brown’s Hate List. I read that one back before I started reviewing, but Rose wrote a real good one : )ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
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  • Marieke
    January 16, 2015
    TIWIE has a lot of things I'm very excited about, like queer girl main characters. And PoC main characters. And tragedy. And courage. And hope. And at least one wholly unintended Les Misérables reference. I'll share more information when I can, but feel free to ask me any questions. And thank you for sharing my excitement! <3
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    August 18, 2016
    3.5 starsThis book is simply unforgetable. It's the first book I've read about a school shooting, and it was just as horrifying and jarring as you would expect. I'm very glad i'm not in high school anymore, because for the rest of my life I'm going to be a little bit startled walking into an auditorium. Sadly, I think this book's only selling point is the subject matter, however. It was gripping and tragic, but the characters, writing, and structure didn't support that very well. I liked how div 3.5 starsThis book is simply unforgetable. It's the first book I've read about a school shooting, and it was just as horrifying and jarring as you would expect. I'm very glad i'm not in high school anymore, because for the rest of my life I'm going to be a little bit startled walking into an auditorium. Sadly, I think this book's only selling point is the subject matter, however. It was gripping and tragic, but the characters, writing, and structure didn't support that very well. I liked how diverse this book was, but it was very hard to interconnect the 4 perspectives as they were described because the way this book is told is very confusing. A lot of the time I was grappling for details, not sure what was going on or who was who. The characters themselves didn't have a lot of time to be fleshed out, and by the end of this book, I didn't find myself particularly attached to them. This book has very sensitive and violent material so I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but it was absolutely crazy and is such a horrible reality that I think it's an important read if you can get your hands on it, even though the execution of it was shaky.
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  • Amanda
    July 18, 2015
    ONE THOUSAND AND ONE STARS OUT OF FIVE
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    September 30, 2015
    It took me awhile to decide how to rate this book. I didn't connect with all of the characters but I still enjoyed the story. Although, in this case, I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. The story is told through several different POV. They were friends, brothers and sisters all living in Opportunity, AL going to Opportunity High School. And they all had one very, very bad day! The story starts out with the shooter almost right off the bat. There are a few little things going on with the POV's It took me awhile to decide how to rate this book. I didn't connect with all of the characters but I still enjoyed the story. Although, in this case, I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. The story is told through several different POV. They were friends, brothers and sisters all living in Opportunity, AL going to Opportunity High School. And they all had one very, very bad day! The story starts out with the shooter almost right off the bat. There are a few little things going on with the POV's talking about what they are doing at the moment, the moment before it all goes downhill. We learn a few things about the different kids through their thoughts of things that happened in the past. But even still this book didn't grab me like I thought it would. I thought I would love it! I gave it three stars because I could feel the terror everyone went through and I felt really bad for everyone going through what happened. I really can't explain what it was that didn't make this a 5 star book for me. I'm just going to leave to the non connection I had to anyone in the story. I still think the author did a great job in creating a very horrific situation, if your just concentrating on that event. I'm so happy for those that could love it and for the many more that will love it as well. And I'm glad I liked it just enough =)MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
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  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    June 4, 2015
    This is going to be a controversial book. A teenager with a gun, shoots up a school filled with students. A terrorist.  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 was initially skeptical of the premise of This Is Where It Ends, books with multiple POVs usually doesn’t work well for me. Like I always say incorporating a handful of POVs is tricky. The author is juggling t This is going to be a controversial book. A teenager with a gun, shoots up a school filled with students. A terrorist.  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 was initially skeptical of the premise of This Is Where It Ends, books with multiple POVs usually doesn’t work well for me. Like I always say incorporating a handful of POVs is tricky. The author is juggling too many plates, some characters will not get their appropriate growth. The transition is awkward, there is no distinction between the voices. But for this story’s case it suited perfectly. The fluidity of the plot and the character’s tone is so authentic.This book is so delicate. I fear if I keep talking I’ll blurt out random spoilers. Trust me, this is the kind of story you should start with a blindfold. So instead, ill bullet proof the selling points.This book also captures how diverse the world we live in. We have: • PoC main characters • Disabled characters • Lesbian charactersThis is Where it Ends is dark and rough around the edges. Full review to come closer to the release date.
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  • Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
    July 23, 2015
    So good. Many feels happening right now.
  • Melanie
    July 14, 2015
    Disappointment after disappointment, it seems these days. An incredibly unfair, black and white portrayal of a school shooting. Had so much potential *sighs*Full review to come.
  • Mary
    July 21, 2015
    I'm numb.I can’t even begin to describe the whirlwind that is in my head and heart after finishing this book. A complete and utter silence descended upon me the second I finished it. I was numb. I was speechless. I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was relieved that I was never forced to live a tragedy like the one described in this book. It’s the start of a new semester at Opportunity High School in Alabama, and the entire student body is assembled in the auditorium, to listen to the start-of-sem I'm numb.I can’t even begin to describe the whirlwind that is in my head and heart after finishing this book. A complete and utter silence descended upon me the second I finished it. I was numb. I was speechless. I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was relieved that I was never forced to live a tragedy like the one described in this book. It’s the start of a new semester at Opportunity High School in Alabama, and the entire student body is assembled in the auditorium, to listen to the start-of-semester speech from the principal. When the assembly ends, they figure out that the doors are closed and cannot be opened. Then, someone starts shooting. The story is told from the perspective of four different people, all connected to each other and to the shooter. I found it to be a very emotional and personal book, a very fast read, because once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a very conflicting feeling: wanting to read, but fearing what you’ll find written on the next page. I think it’s so incredibly difficult to write about a tragedy like this. It’s very difficult to “get it right”. It’s why this is a you-either-love-it-or-hate-it book. But it hit the mark with me. I loved how it was written, I loved the characters and I think the author did a wonderful job developing them (given the fact that everything takes place in less than an hour, although we get a lot of flashbacks as well), I felt connected to them and to their story. Marieke tackles a myriad of difficult subjects and, while it would have been great for her to explore them more, I think she does them justice. The cast is diverse (POC and queer characters) and that was refreshing to see. The writing is gripping and poignant and terrifying. It transmits such an intense sense of dread to the reader, that it makes it difficult to continue reading at times. You feel how scared everyone is, how helpless and overwhelmed they are. It’s horrifying.The thing that I loved the most, probably, is that it’s a story about the victims and the survivors. Not about the shooter. It doesn’t explore the “why did this happen” angle, because in situations like this one, we never get a straight answer. We never learn the why. Instead, it focuses on friendship and courage and love, it’s emotional and moving. Humanity permeates its pages. And there’s a tiny sliver of hope hidden in there.Favourite quotes:“We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us.” “You can’t always keep your loved ones with you. You can’t always settle your life in one place. The world was made to change. But as long as you cherish the memories and make new ones along on the way, no matter where you are, you’ll always be at home.” “Grief is one big, gaping hole, isn’t it?“ I say quietly I don’t even know if he hears me, but my words are as much for myself as for him. "It’s everywhere and all consuming. Some days you think you can’t go on because the only thing waiting for you is more despair. Some days you don’t want to go on because it’s easier to give up than to get hurt again.” ★★★★★ To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    November 3, 2016
    DNF about 1/3 of the way through. This book is just..... shallow. Superficial. Not once did I connect to a single character. They all felt like caricatures of real people instead of relatable.I can see what the author was trying to do with the subject and having a more diverse character base, but it just didn't work.
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  • Sarah
    July 1, 2015
    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.) “If you cooperate, some of you might go home today. All you have to do is listen carefully to what I’m saying. No screaming, no running, no phones, and certainly no attempting to disarm me. Today, you’ll all listen.” This book was pretty shocking, mainly because this sort of thing happens in real life to real people.I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the chara (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.) “If you cooperate, some of you might go home today. All you have to do is listen carefully to what I’m saying. No screaming, no running, no phones, and certainly no attempting to disarm me. Today, you’ll all listen.” This book was pretty shocking, mainly because this sort of thing happens in real life to real people.I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the characters in this book because there were so many of them! I slowly began to pick up the relationships between them, but it did take me a while. It was easy to see why these kids would be so scared though when someone just walked into their school hall and started shooting people, but I had a hard time really feeling for these characters, they just didn’t speak to me the way I expected them to.The storyline in this followed a couple of the kids who were in the hall with the shooter, and a couple of other kids who were outside of the hall, we also got some tweets from kids both and in the hall and at home. My main thing about this book though, was that it seemed in poor taste. This kind of thing unfortunately happens to real people in real life, and writing a fictional book about something that kills people just seems a bit wrong. I also hope that this book won’t give people ideas! I would hate for someone to do this sort of thing in real life after reading this book. The ending to this was okay, but I can’t help feeling like this book just left a bad taste in my mouth.6 out of 10
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  • Kaye
    January 17, 2015
    [This review is not final. Quotes removed for reposting here, but you can find them in my blog post.]My knee-jerk, first things first thought on closing This Is Where It Ends could be summed up in three words."I'm not okay."And that, I think, is okay. Because this is a book that ends on a note that you should absolutely, 100% not be okay with.This Is Where It Ends is deeply, darkly visceral and gripping. It takes you by the throat and tugs you downward into emotional compromise and utter panic. [This review is not final. Quotes removed for reposting here, but you can find them in my blog post.]My knee-jerk, first things first thought on closing This Is Where It Ends could be summed up in three words."I'm not okay."And that, I think, is okay. Because this is a book that ends on a note that you should absolutely, 100% not be okay with.This Is Where It Ends is deeply, darkly visceral and gripping. It takes you by the throat and tugs you downward into emotional compromise and utter panic. It all too realistically portrays every parent or guardian's nightmare and the event that every student cannot imagine occurring on their campus, to their friends, in their lifetime.In the span of 54 minutes - just 54 - every student and faculty member present in the auditorium of Opportunity High School, Alabama, is fighting for their lives against one boy, one of their own. Only now, instead of being their brother or classmate or ex-boyfriend...He's the boy with the gun.I mean, the summary alone should tell you what's coming. I'm not sure how I still was so detached from what was coming at the very beginning, but Marieke makes sure to acclimate you to the assembled cast. They are ordinary, wonderfully diverse American teens. They are bored by the principal's default sermon to usher in the new semester, worried about younger siblings or fraying relationships or trouble at home.They are all expecting to stand up, gather their belongings and file off to their relevant classrooms.And that's what starts to drive this home, as things go from bad to...I don't know, is there something past utterly wrong and tormenting? What frightens us about a school shooting is that it can happen anywhere. On my campus, we talk in orientation about what we should do, where we should go, who we should listen to. We're introduced to the emergency phones, the fire escapes, the concept of being calm, quiet and orderly no matter what catastrophe has us in its clutches.But there's a difference between hearing about that and being thrust headlong into it.And, though everyone in This Is Where It Ends reacts differently, I had to tear up and press my fist to my mouth for all of them. Because you never know how you will react. You never know what action may be the last you take on - even if it's something that will make you a hero.The narrative is beautiful, equalizing and real. I gave a particularly watery smile in a moment where Tomas and Fareed, best friends and brothers no matter what - in a situation where it truly, deeply counts and cuts into you - are doing their best to rescue their classmates, friends and siblings.Even in that moment, waiting for some sort of outside help and trying to form a solid strategy, Tomas spares a thought for Fareed and how, with his Afghani heritage, accent and Muslim faith, he may seem a threat to the police officers rather than a hero.You know me. Even when my heart is in my throat and I'm turning pages as fast as I can without cutting myself, I've got that eye for Muslim representation.I found myself getting very reluctantly attached to all the teens, but Fareed in particular had me closing my eyes and telepathically wiring messages to Marieke's brain: Marieke, I love you. You wouldn't do this to me, right? ...Right?(For all the scientifically minded, the fact that Marieke has shown no sign of receiving said messages concludes that we have yet to break the telepathic barrier.Or maybe it's just me and you should get a better test subject.Anyway - and avert your eyes, because this may or may not be a spoiler! - [spoiler]she didn't do it to me.[/spoiler] She's evil. But not that evil.)I think the thing that hit me the hardest about This Is Where It Ends is that skillful blend of tragedy and hope, darkness and light. Some of it felt a little strange to me - a first kiss in the middle of worrying over a wounded, potentially dying sibling, for instance - but I'm holding off on the judgey side because, again, who the heck knows what they'd do in a particular situation when they don't know what else is going to happen?I certainly don't. And I have plenty of witnesses that can confirm that I don't claim to know everything. Okay? Okay.But, overall...the ending. It just catches in your throat. Nothing is going to be okay. I started the preview off on that note. I'm telling you right now, guys. Nothing is going to be okay.Newtown happened. The Aurora shooting happened. Columbine happened. Everyday, there's something vicious and violent that bites down into our world and rips families and friends and loved ones apart, leaving us to grieve with no proper answers and no promise that we'd ever feel whole or healed again.It's not okay. It's never okay. But one way or another, we will never forget. And we will never lose hope.
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  • Jen
    December 19, 2015
    I read dark-themed realistic fiction for the emotional punch it packs, and in that regard this book fell short for me. My biggest problems with the book were narrative choices that prevented me from getting to know and care about the book's characters/potential victims. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not generally a fan of more than two first person POVs and I struggled to keep all the characters straight. There were four different alternating first person narrators. All of these chara I read dark-themed realistic fiction for the emotional punch it packs, and in that regard this book fell short for me. My biggest problems with the book were narrative choices that prevented me from getting to know and care about the book's characters/potential victims. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not generally a fan of more than two first person POVs and I struggled to keep all the characters straight. There were four different alternating first person narrators. All of these characters had similar narrative voices (except the one who sprinkled in some Spanish) and all had friends and siblings and love interests and ex-love interests and all of the relationships stayed pretty jumbled in my mind. Every narrative choice made by an author has its pros and cons. I can understand the decision behind this POV choice -- during the incident, some of the characters are in different locations within the school -- but to me all the POV switching was distracting and confusing. I know I'm not really connecting with characters when I start giving them shorthand labels to keep them straight in my mind (runner, dancer, dancer's girlfriend, runner's boyfriend, boy on crutches) and I never really understand much more about them than that. I also had some issues with the fact that this book was narrated in real time ... except when it wasn't. Real-time narration can be very gripping (it's why I loved the show 24) and might seem a natural choice for a book like this, except that it typically results in a story that's all adrenaline and action. The book did incorporate some flashbacks, reflection, etc. but I thought those threw the real-time pacing off. I thought there was another downside to the fact that book takes place over the span of less than an hour and that the reader is constantly reminded how many minutes have elapsed. Every page or two, I kept thinking: where the &%$@ are the police? The shooting starts at 10:05. A full twenty minutes later, the SWAT team is in the parking lot "setting up"(?!?) and ten minutes after that they still haven't gone in. While we haven't made much progress in the US in preventing mass shootings, maybe we've learned something about how to react to them. Just a cursory Google search reveals that at Columbine in 1999, police waited outside for 45 minutes until a SWAT team arrived but that in the years since, American police changed their active shooter protocols to immediately send a team in to stop the shooter at all costs. I'm by no means an expert on any of this, but thinking about it as I read was distracting.I know that senseless tragedies are easier to describe than explain, but again, I want fiction that delves a little deeper. I think that, given the POV choice, the shooter might have been included as one of the narrators so we'd get to know a little more about him and his motivations, which ended up seeming pretty cookie-cutter. The end of the book featured a quick conversation between characters: ("Could we have stopped him?") and another half-paragraph of some hand-wringing ("How could it happen here? Why couldn't we stop it?") But to me that felt just thrown in and the shooter came off as a cartoonish villain. (view spoiler)[ Suggesting that the shooter might also have been a rapist just confused me more. It's a pet peeve of mine when rape is casually thrown into a plot as shorthand that characters are bad guys or victims and the issue is not really dealt with. (hide spoiler)]In the end, while this book definitely had its gripping moments, I was hoping for more -- a deeper connection with these characters and a story with moral, psychological, and emotional complexity. Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on BloglovinThanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Jenna Major
    March 24, 2016
    5/5 STARS!!!What it is about!This book is a take on real-life school shootings. It follows different point of views of students, an alumni, texts and even twitter while it moves through the short period it takes to have such a traumatic event. This book is gut wrenching and raw and I doubt you will finish reading it without a few tears. My Review:This book is a very fast-read because you just cannot put it down. You need to know what happens next and who survives. It is a light read and can lack 5/5 STARS!!!What it is about!This book is a take on real-life school shootings. It follows different point of views of students, an alumni, texts and even twitter while it moves through the short period it takes to have such a traumatic event. This book is gut wrenching and raw and I doubt you will finish reading it without a few tears. My Review:This book is a very fast-read because you just cannot put it down. You need to know what happens next and who survives. It is a light read and can lack description but that adds to the book as we hop through POV's and move forward through the shooting. I read this late into the night and suffered through many different emotions this book entails. I loved the smaller characters that don't have POV's, we got to see them through the eyes of multiple people and with each view, they were still suffering. THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF SUFFERING AND SADNESS!!! I cried so much at the end of this book but also throughout. School-shootings are an absolute tragedy and horrific events already, but through reading this it makes me an infinite times more devastated and awestruck at the violence and death/injuries. I recommend this book to virtually anyone because it makes you think and reflect upon your own life and will potentially give you a new perspective!
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  • Diane S ☔
    August 26, 2015
    So many school shootings, one after another, so this book is a timely one. I cared very much about these high school kids, wanted to get an understanding and wondered how the author would portray the shooter and the motivations of said perpetrator. For the most part I thought she did this very well. Narrated by four different students, inside and outside the school, aided by twitter feeds and flashbacks, we get a varied perspective as well as each of their stories. A bit overly dramatic but who So many school shootings, one after another, so this book is a timely one. I cared very much about these high school kids, wanted to get an understanding and wondered how the author would portray the shooter and the motivations of said perpetrator. For the most part I thought she did this very well. Narrated by four different students, inside and outside the school, aided by twitter feeds and flashbacks, we get a varied perspective as well as each of their stories. A bit overly dramatic but who am I to say. I don't know how I would react because I have never been involved in a situation such as this. I found this suspenseful, tension filled, poignant and heartfelt. My only complaint was how the police were portrayed. Don't think it would have taken them as long as it did to take action, or at least I hope not. But this is a story, so..........ARc from Netgalley.
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  • Jeannette Nikolova
    July 18, 2015
    *** GIVEAWAY: You have the opportunity to win "This Is Where It Ends" if you enter the giveaway in the next 8 days! To learn more, click here. *** Read on the WondrousBooks blog. I'm really sad to write this review. Out of all of the books that I've ever requested on NetGalley, Everything, Everything and This Is Where It Ends were the two I was most hopeful about. I was honestly so excited to receive this book and I went through quite the disappointment reading it.The theme of the book, although *** GIVEAWAY: You have the opportunity to win "This Is Where It Ends" if you enter the giveaway in the next 8 days! To learn more, click here. *** Read on the WondrousBooks blog. I'm really sad to write this review. Out of all of the books that I've ever requested on NetGalley, Everything, Everything and This Is Where It Ends were the two I was most hopeful about. I was honestly so excited to receive this book and I went through quite the disappointment reading it.The theme of the book, although not a novel one, is one which, sad as it is, has become a part and certainly a problem of our society. It's entirely too often that we hear about school shootings and it won't ever become less of a tragedy.What put me off the most about This Is Where It Ends is that the author, realizing that the theme of the book is going to touch the readers deeply, is reaching out in a very unpleasant way. I don't know about you but I really dislike writers who intentionally make themselves quotable. If your thoughts are interesting enough, the readers are going to quote them anyway. But there were too many paragraphs, especially at the end of each chapter, which felt like shameless self-promotion.Other than that, I couldn't really feel a connection to the characters. Again, there was the intentional victimization in order to make them more likable, but it just made them annoying to me. All of them would constantly whine about their sad lives way before the shooting. I especially disliked Sylv and Autumn.On the other hand we didn't really learn all that much about the characters' actual motivation. Yes, sure, we were able to read their thoughts, but WHY? Why did Tyler decide to shoot all of these people? I know that he felt alone, yadda-yadda, but what made him snap? What made him the way he was even before? Why did he start treating Autumn differently? How did he decide that this was the right thing to do for him? I didn't get any real insight into this. Everything is neatly answered, but all of the answers just seemed shallow and unrealistic.I feel like many people are afraid of giving this book its actual rating lest it be considered insensitive to all of the victims of actual school shootings. Because I sure don't think that the book was as deep and insightful as everyone makes it out to be.
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  • Amber Robertson
    December 17, 2016
    2.5 StarsWow. I can't even formulate how I feel about this. I'm distressed. I'm disturbed. I'm also crying. I haven't cried while reading a book in a while, but here I am. A full review for this bio is impossible to write due to the fact it would be completely spoiler filled. This book, however, is a journey that has you in the edge of your seat and praying for all the characters involved. There are some missing elements to it, but for the most part it's an amazing book and I highly recommend it 2.5 StarsWow. I can't even formulate how I feel about this. I'm distressed. I'm disturbed. I'm also crying. I haven't cried while reading a book in a while, but here I am. A full review for this bio is impossible to write due to the fact it would be completely spoiler filled. This book, however, is a journey that has you in the edge of your seat and praying for all the characters involved. There are some missing elements to it, but for the most part it's an amazing book and I highly recommend it.
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  • Ecmel Soylu
    July 2, 2015
    Düşünün ki biri sizi okuldaki bütün öğrencilerle beraber okulun açılış konuşmasını dinlemek için toplandığınız konferans salonuna kitliyor ve katliam yapmaya başlıyor. Bu biri Autumn'un erkek kardeşi Tyler. Okulu bırakmış, zor günler geçirmiş falan da filan. Autumn'un Sylvia adında bir kız arkadaşı(en yakın arkadaşı aynı zamanda), Sylvia'nın Tomas adında bir abisi ve Tomas'ın da Fareed adında bir arkadaşı var. Ana karakterler bunlar. -Konuya hiçbir katkı sağlamayan, amaçsızca takılan Claire ve C Düşünün ki biri sizi okuldaki bütün öğrencilerle beraber okulun açılış konuşmasını dinlemek için toplandığınız konferans salonuna kitliyor ve katliam yapmaya başlıyor. Bu biri Autumn'un erkek kardeşi Tyler. Okulu bırakmış, zor günler geçirmiş falan da filan. Autumn'un Sylvia adında bir kız arkadaşı(en yakın arkadaşı aynı zamanda), Sylvia'nın Tomas adında bir abisi ve Tomas'ın da Fareed adında bir arkadaşı var. Ana karakterler bunlar. -Konuya hiçbir katkı sağlamayan, amaçsızca takılan Claire ve Chris adında iki karakter daha var ama bu iki karakteri kitaptan komple çıkartsak kimse fark etmez, neyse.-Kitap, Autumn, Sylvia, Tomas ve Claire'nin gözünden anlatılıyor.Konuya dönüyorum, okulun açılış günü, müdür konuşma yapıyor ve bütün öğrenciler konferans salonunda. Tomas, Fareed, Claire ve Chris dışında. Tomas ve Fareed bi ofise girmişler, bir şey bulmaya çalışıyorlar, Claire ve Chris de koşu takımı için çalışma yapıyor. Tyler intikam almak için öğrencileri konferans salonuna kitliyor, silahla beraber içeri giriyor ve müdürün kafasını patlatıyor. Bi düşünsenize, birisi. gözünüzün. önünde. okulun. müdürünün. beynini. dağıtıyor.Bununla kalmıyor tabii, milleti öldürmeye devam ediyor.Bunun üzerine tepkiniz ne olur?Böyle bir kitapta bir dehşet havası, katliam ortamı tasviri falan beklersiniz değil mi?AMA HAYIR AHAHSDSHDFKSLFKSLDKİTABI GÖZLERİNDEN OKUDUĞUMUZ LİSE ÇAĞINDAKİ BU DÖRT GENÇ DEHŞETE BİLE DÜŞMÜYOR. YAKINDAN TANIDIKLARI BU ÇOCUK MİLLETİN KAFASINI PATLATIRKEN GEÇMİŞLERİNİ,GELECEKLERİNİ DÜŞÜNÜYORLAR, HAYAT, SEVGİ, AŞK, KARDEŞLİK HAKKINDA FELSEFE YAPIYORLAR.(view spoiler)[Kitabın sonunda Tyler 30 küsür kişiyi mi ne öldürüyor ve bunlardan biri Tomas, yani Sylvia'nın abisi ve Fareed'in yakın arkadaşı. Öldüğünün gecesi ne mi oluyor? Sylvia ve Fareed dahil sağ kalan bütün öğrenciler okula geri dönüp dilek feneri yakıyorlar ölenler için. Kendi çaplarında felsefe yapmaya falan devam ediyorlar. Benim arkadaşım, abim gözümün önünde ölse uzunca bi süre depresyondan çıkamam sanırım. Bu ne ya. şldfkslşdfk (hide spoiler)]otur sıfır.
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  • Carrie
    August 9, 2015
    The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes up her speech welcoming the students to the new year. But when the principal dismisses the students to class they find that the doors are locked and then the shooting begins. This is Where it Ends tells the tale of the horror of a school shooting from four different points of view during the horrific events that take place over the course of the next fifty four minutes. Living in the U.S. this type of event happening is becoming far to The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes up her speech welcoming the students to the new year. But when the principal dismisses the students to class they find that the doors are locked and then the shooting begins. This is Where it Ends tells the tale of the horror of a school shooting from four different points of view during the horrific events that take place over the course of the next fifty four minutes. Living in the U.S. this type of event happening is becoming far too common on the news so when I first read the synopsis for this story I was quite intrigued with how it would be written. What I was expecting was the book to be so full of emotion that it would end up being tough to even get through. However, I think what it lacked most was the emotional attachment that I though would be involved. As the POV changes I'd often forget who it was that was telling the story at that time. Another kind of small nuisance for me in this story was the focus on race, religion, sexual orientation in describing characters that just didn't seem to fit the situation. This seemed to just halt my attempt at connecting with the characters as human beings in a horrific situation and instead make me think there was a checklist to make sure that the high school was diverse. A bit odd to worry about the color of one's skin or sexual orientation when facing a gunman. Overall, 2.5 stars, not the emotional read I was hoping for, characters didn't seem to be fully developed personality wise, including the shooter, to get my attention and get me invested in the story.
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  • AH
    July 16, 2015
    Warning: This is not an easy book to read. It's dark, it's traumatic, it's shocking. It's every parent's nightmare scenario. It is frightening. It will make you cry. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. After all, just a quick peek at the synopsis tells you everything you need to know. If you are squeamish, it's best that you skip this book. The book is written in multiple points of view. There are many characters and at times I had to write d Warning: This is not an easy book to read. It's dark, it's traumatic, it's shocking. It's every parent's nightmare scenario. It is frightening. It will make you cry. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. After all, just a quick peek at the synopsis tells you everything you need to know. If you are squeamish, it's best that you skip this book. The book is written in multiple points of view. There are many characters and at times I had to write down their names to keep them straight in my mind. It made the book a little confusing because as each character is introduced, we learn about them and what their dreams and aspirations are. In a way, the confusion makes sense because it mimics the conditions in the auditorium: Shooter on the loose and everyone is locked in. In between chapters are Twitter status updates and blog entries of students inside the auditorium and people wanting information. This is the story of bravery. Two characters skip the assembly and rather than wait for the police and SWAT teams to arrive, they take matters into their own hands and work to unlock the auditorium, freeing some of the students. They are either brave or incredibly stupid, but their stories held my interest. This is also the story of family. Imagine finding out that your brother is responsible for the carnage and having to confront him in front of your peers. The subject matter is controversial. There can't be a happy ending. It is worth the read. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a review copy of this book.
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  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    November 30, 2015
    5 Words: Not my cup of tea.I had really been looking forward to this one. There was so much hype, I was seeing it everywhere, I'd heard good things...But.I knew it wasn't looking so good when I was ready to DNF by the second chapter. Up until then it was just dull and confusing. But then it picked up a little, started to get more interesting... And quickly trailed back to just dull and confusing.I found the characters to be pretty one-dimensional. I couldn't even tell them apart, never mind conn 5 Words: Not my cup of tea.I had really been looking forward to this one. There was so much hype, I was seeing it everywhere, I'd heard good things...But.I knew it wasn't looking so good when I was ready to DNF by the second chapter. Up until then it was just dull and confusing. But then it picked up a little, started to get more interesting... And quickly trailed back to just dull and confusing.I found the characters to be pretty one-dimensional. I couldn't even tell them apart, never mind connect with any of them.It felt like the author had picked up a "make your book diverse" checklist and tried to tick every box. A story which could have been amazing and heart-breaking just didn't come together because so much was going on in so few pages. There was a lot of telling, very little showing and a one-voice-fits-all cast of characters. Shame.I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
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  • Vivian
    October 7, 2016
    Ik heb hier geen woorden voor. Of misschien toch. In het begin ging het nog wel, maar vooral de laatste 100 bladzijden hebben me helemaal kapotgemaakt, tot tranen en snikken toe. Het is zo intens, zo echt, zo verschrikkelijk, maar ook zo goed geschreven en met zo'n krachtige boodschap: hoop, moed, liefde... ik heb nog even tijd nodig om het te verwerken. Wat een fenomenaal boek. Uitgebreidere recensie: http://thebookreview.nl/recensies/you...
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  • Beth (Ducky)
    June 19, 2015
    Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this for an honest review!!This book is filled with tragedy and still, went I finished reading it, I was filled with hope. I was crying but I was smiling. I felt a hollow part in my heart that this book just ripped out of me, but I also knew that this is one of the best books I've ever read.Just last month I read Columbine and that book was amazing as well. It focused a lot on the victims and survivors but also a lot on the shooters. But this book, it was Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this for an honest review!!This book is filled with tragedy and still, went I finished reading it, I was filled with hope. I was crying but I was smiling. I felt a hollow part in my heart that this book just ripped out of me, but I also knew that this is one of the best books I've ever read.Just last month I read Columbine and that book was amazing as well. It focused a lot on the victims and survivors but also a lot on the shooters. But this book, it was all about the victims and survivors. I never thought to myself "why is this happening" because I will never get that answer. A lot of times, we never get that answer. I didn't need that answer.This book follows a few different characters during the hour that the shooting takes place. There was Claire, Tomas, Autumn, and Sylv. Each character is so completely different and so important in their own ways.I think one thing that I'm going to take away from this book was the diversity. There were POC main characters, there were queer girl main characters, and there were queer POC main characters. They weren't background characters. They didn't act straight and then three years later the author will say "well yes they were gay! I just didn't think it was important to show them in a romantic setting!" While reading the beginning of this book, I texted a friend of mine and said "There may be lgbt+ characters in here. Also POC. YES OMG" I was so happy. I was ecstatic. I loved this book for the diversity. I loved it for the writing. I loved it for the characters. I loved it for the pace. There is nothing about this book that I didn't love. Expect me to be shoving this one in your face for a while. This is a book that you'll want to read. Trust me.
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  • joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts
    August 20, 2015
    Are the contents of this book important? Yeah.Was it executed in a way that, for me, showcased this importance? Errrrrguhhhhhmmm...can't say.-- Full review pending.Edited Jan 8, 2016:[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.] Rating: 1.5/5 Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review: – A timely novel giving life to social circles shared by school shooters. However, the shooter isn’t given a voice– Multi POV narrative; uses twitter, blog posts, flashblacks– Set in Alabama and raises Are the contents of this book important? Yeah.Was it executed in a way that, for me, showcased this importance? Errrrrguhhhhhmmm...can't say.-- Full review pending.Edited Jan 8, 2016:[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.] Rating: 1.5/5 Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review: – A timely novel giving life to social circles shared by school shooters. However, the shooter isn’t given a voice– Multi POV narrative; uses twitter, blog posts, flashblacks– Set in Alabama and raises questions per the demographics and the representation of diverse inclusion of the physically disabled, LGBTQIA+, cultural (Spanish, Middle Eastern), mentally ill– Some scenes overdramatized with cinematic flair– Lacking motivation for the shooter and doesn’t really provide solid reasons as to why Initial Thoughts: Underwhelming.Full disclosure: I received an e-ARC of This Is Where It Ends from Netgalley. I extend thanks to SourceBooks Fire for providing me the opportunity to review this book. (view spoiler)[Afterthoughts:PremiseWhen an assembly ends at Opportunity High, students make like bandits to the exit; some hoping to get a quick smoke in before the next class, others wishing to linger with their friends. But the doors don’t open…except for one, and standing between freedom is a student with a gun.SettingThe Alabama town Opportunity High is set at is pretty plain. In a way, it allows readers to draw from personal experience and imagery of school layouts.But setting is more than just infrastructure. It very much regards the heart of a community; the stakeholders being pivotal to how this story is sold. That’s where things become muddled. It’s fine that the perpetrator locked the school population in the auditorium but locking every single student and teacher etc. etc. etc. EXCEPT for the convenient narrators is utter nonsense (e.g. track & field team and random students rummaging through the administrative office).Could it happen?Yeah.But to have everything and everyone so conveniently placed? Shut the front door.You’re telling me there aren’t people who’d skip an assembly or are already detoured elsewhere (considering it’s the same mundane speech year in-and-out)? That only one janitor works the shift? That there was no one who saw this kid fucking chain up the doors in preparation for doomsday? That no one in this day and age had a mobile device or a mind to call police instead of Tweeting about it?These variables make the situation read so black and white with no room for anything external to exist. These are just some aspects that killed the promise of this story to come alive.NarrationThis Is Where It Ends falls on its own sword gun-wound on one basis: when the choice is made to withhold the gunman’s voice, readers are only able to understand through filtered glasses. And when characters continually preach the shooters’ evilness, it does not assert the underlying motivation to carry out these acts. I’m not looking for redeeming qualities but that doesn’t mean their psyche isn’t critical to the story. All I got was a hollow villain and an unfairly one-sided story that chooses to dismiss the psychology of its central character.And that’s a problem.There’s an opinion that we shouldn’t fanfare a gunman for their actions as it feeds unnecessary fame. I get that. But without the shooters POV, the complexity between character dynamics just isn’t there. With flashbacks, these memories only promote victimization in an attempt to tug the reader’s heartstrings. Sure the shooter is an asshole but manipulating the story to continually reinforce the time-bomb is not something that should be decided for the reader. It would be more compelling to show the mental breakdown rather than witness it through an individuals biases.I can’t even begin to acknowledge the inclusion of the physically disabled, LGBTQIA+, and cultural diversity with all this other smoke being blown in my face. For what it’s worth, it’s great that these characters exist even if the small-town U.S. vibes would suggest otherwise (I combed through state demographics). My concerns with the representation revolve around how these characters felt boxed into their specialness; as if they held a damn neon sign that read: “statistic is over here!” Representation is one thing but realistic fulfillment is another.But let’s get to the what-the-fuck-is-this part.There are scenes dramatized as if the intent was to stretch the story for cinematic flair. This may be a spoiler but you deserve to know. Some kids had the opportunity to find safety outside with the cops as the shooter did not know where they could have gone. So, apparently, the rational thing to do is to run deeper into the school and hide out—as if they were playing Hide and Seek. I shit you not. Is this some reverse psychology bullshit? It makes no sense. I won’t even begin to rant about how the gunman didn’t even reload once in three-quarters of the novel after shooting up x victims (let alone his seemingly perfect accuracy toward everyone except the protagonists).OverallHere’s the thing: I don’t have to read Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends to feel shitty for such a controversial and important topic. But for a character heavy story spanning four POVs, the gray areas need to engross me over-and-beyond the suspenseful nature of the conflict; otherwise, the entire point isn’t any different beyond the headlines we see in the news. Don’t get me wrong, this book has it’s moments of hope. It’s the why that’s unsupported and proves underwhelming. At least give us an epilogue manifesto or something, I don’t know.[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.](hide spoiler)]
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  • Mai
    December 23, 2016
    “Do you know the light we see really means we’re looking back in history?”Okay, so this book. This Is Where It Ends is a book about a school shooting, it's narrated by four characters ( Claire, Autumn, Sylv, and Tomás) everyone is telling his/her side of the story so that it feels like you're everywhere around this incident.First of all, I don't know how the author could write something like that, it was so painful to read, let alone write and invest time in!So I like it, but I had some problems “Do you know the light we see really means we’re looking back in history?”Okay, so this book. This Is Where It Ends is a book about a school shooting, it's narrated by four characters ( Claire, Autumn, Sylv, and Tomás) everyone is telling his/her side of the story so that it feels like you're everywhere around this incident.First of all, I don't know how the author could write something like that, it was so painful to read, let alone write and invest time in!So I like it, but I had some problems with it and I'm going to state them, but before that I just want to say that the idea that this book revolves around is so important but???Of course you can't read a perfect book, because there isn't any- I found the writing to be frivolous, apathetic and dull. I couldn't hear some of the characters' voice, they couldn't reach me somehow.- The reaction to some deaths were so cold, that I actually flipped the pages back to make sure that I've read that part right. I don't wish this on anybody, but if you're going to write a book that practically all about losing loved ones then you have to make sure how people react to that, I know that we're not the same but we all get hurt when we lose a dear person, some characters made it sound so easy and they acted so selfish right after hearing the news. This was basically my biggest issue with the book.- The romance somehow wasn't quite there, I liked the idea but the way it was executed didn't rub me right.Other than that, the book was amazing, I cried a lot and I mourned the world, because no this isn't fiction we live this everyday, everywhere, no place in this planet is safe enough. Humanity is inhumed deep down where humans don't live anymore.No shooter, no killer, no army ever has the excuse, or dare to have an excuse to point a gun to an innocent unarmed human being, no matter what they've done, no one has the right to take someone else's life, only God has this authority.What really made me love this book is how the author chose to add a Muslim/Arab character just to YELL at the world that no, terrorism isn't driven by religion, that Islam is innocent of this, you don't have to point your finger to the first Muslim you see just because there was a shooting, terrorism is driven by hate, and Islam is a religion of love and peace, just how all religions are. I just had to get this off my chest.Thank you for listening.I recommend this book, although it might break your heart, but it has a message and it's well delivered.And what more do you ask for?
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  • Hazel (Stay Bookish)
    April 17, 2015
    EXCUSE MY BAWLING THIS BOOK WAS SO HEARTBREAKING AND EMOTIONAL *all the tears*
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