Marieke Nijkamp is a Dutch writer and This Is Where It Ends, which came out in 2016, is her debut novel. Soon another standalone novel by her is coming out titled Before I Let Go and it is available for pre-ordering now.
This review will contain spoilers.
This is Where it Ends is a book about a school shooting in Opportunity High and is told from four different POVs. Each of those children whom we learn about knows something about the shooter and has his/her own reasons to fear the shooter.
It is a thrilling story that keeps you on the edge of the seat, but still at the end gives the feeling that something was missing. It is a good and interesting book about a topic, that this year especially, seems to be floating around a lot – mass shootings in America.
There are many things I wish the book would have done that it didn’t – like giving us more (or different) POVs to read about, give us the psychological, mental profile of the shooter and the people, who have been affected by his actions before the actual shooting took place… There are more, but I think these are the most important ones.
The reason why I’m saying this is because although the book tells a terrifying story it is also one of a kind, a pioneer in YA… But all characters in this book are the same – they are good people who stay good despite their (various) sufferings – and that’s their only trait. Characters are underdeveloped (because of the jumping around between POVs it doesn’t give much time to linger) and unrelatable.
Despite so many episodes being inappropriate (or unbelievable, like, I would never do some of those things that the students did) in my opinion, the book still got me turning page after page wanting to know what is going to happen next and it was exciting enough to ignore the weaknesses of the book… only at the end, they started to bite through because the story slowed.
As I said by the end the story sometimes drifted off of the serious notes and events, which took me by surprise and made me angry. Really. It just diminished the importance of shooting/surviving with smiles, jokes and cheap romance that did not fit the characters. I understand that some people react differently to stressful situations, but unfortunately in this book both the desperate, scared and weak were also the ones who were strong, joking and flirting. This character imbalance threw me off big time.
Surely when people die we remember only the good about them, but that does not mean that all the people who died were actually good. And I in this sense, I feel like this book looked from the perspective of characters being dead instead of them being alive.
Despite the critique I have for this book, I read it quickly and managed to swallow fair share of the bad things because it was exciting and captivating. So I gave the book three stars on my Goodreads page.
Let me know what you thought of this book and if there’s anything similar to it! I would really like to try some more books related to the topic, especially in the YA-ish genre. But for now cheerio!