This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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.


Song For This Book: Jeremy by Pearl Jam
Why? It’s a song about a school shooting, and it seemed to fit the scenario in the book as close as a song can.


School shootings are scary common these days, so it’s not surprising to come across a book about one. And I don’t know if it’s just the way things are or if it’s because of more media coverage, but the increase we seem to be able to hear about them. And because it’s such a touchy, real subject, it’s not surprising that there are a lot of mixed reviews on this book. Mine is going to land somewhere in the middle of great and meh.

The first thing that struck me about this book is that the plot seemed familiar to a movie I saw years ago. It was a similar thing where the shooter kept people trapped in a school, only it was way longer, and less violent. I couldn’t find the movie, though, so I may be mixing it up.

The second and all other things that struck me are as follows:

The Good Points of This Is Where It Ends:

This book takes place over the course of an hour, but it doesn’t leave you lacking in backstory. It jumps around a bit, and fills you in on everything you need to know to keep track of the story.

The flow is actually pretty good, which is surprising because it jumps between four points of views, and past and present. It didn’t feel jolty or bumpy, like many books do when changing points of view, which is awesome.

I loved the variety of characters in this story. And I know that the author is a big believer in diversity in books, but it wasn’t shoved in your face. It just was, which is how diversity in books should be.

I enjoyed the plot of the story. It was very realistic, and if you’re doing to tackle a topic like this, it really should be. It’s a scary situation, and the characters react and respond accordingly. And it was done well.

The Downsides of This Is Where It Ends:

While I enjoyed the plot, I really didn’t connect with this story at all. It didn’t make me feel anything, I wasn’t worried that my favourite characters would die, I didn’t really care what happened at all. I had no emotional connection to this book, and it was something I think it needed to really make it good.

This book would have been a lot better if the author had picked one perspective and stuck to it. I liked getting all the background, but it was also hard to figure out who was who for the longest time. And once I got everyone figured out, I just kind of… didn’t care.

Why didn’t we get Tyler’s perspective? That would have made it ten times better. And would have made the book stand out that much more.

There should have been a lot more psychological research in this book. Some of the character reactions were a bit out of place, some of them were super calm or super freaked in the worst places, and it just seemed… weird. This is a hard subject, but it could be done well, but the mark was just missed a bit for this one.

All in all, I did enjoy this book, I just wanted so much more out of it. This is such an important subject, and it just wasn’t done as well as it could have been. The plot is there, though, so if that’s what you look for, this book could be for you. But if you’re looking for a heartbreaking portrayal of a school shooting, this may not be the best one.


7 thoughts on “This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

  1. It’s a shame that it didn’t live up to your expectations… But I guess it’s very difficult to actually capture what a school shooting would be and feel like. Still, if you want to write a book about it, you better know how to do just that.
    Have you watched Elephant? It’s a peculiar movie about the subject. To this day, I’m still unsure whether I liked it or not! Seems to evoke the same type of emotions as this book…

    Liked by 1 person

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