This Is Where It Ends ARC Review -- It's Not Me, It's Definitely You.

This Is Where It Ends | Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date: January 5th 2016 | Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 292
Edition: E-ARC
Source: Publisher

10:00 a.m.
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.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

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 received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



54 Minutes of Disappointment.
Nothing screams Happy New Year louder than a negative review  


Last year around this time, I read an adult fiction novel called Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon. It covered the horrific topic of a school shooting, capturing the painful perspective of a father who's son is not only missing from the institution, but who is also accused of being a prime suspect to the crime. Nothing was pretty about this story. It was emotionally charged from the very beginning, so much so I was absolutely terrified to start a new chapter, so afraid to reach the end because I knew I would unravel the heartbreaking twist that was sure to come. I found that I was not only connected to the characters, but to the words and their beautiful meaning, and just as if it were yesterday I remember quoting in my review, " this story hit me like a ton of bricks to the point I was crying so hard, I could barely see the words on the page. "

So riddle me this people, if This is Where It Ends is about the same topic, shouldn't I feel the same way? 

Because I don't

Strike One
Unwanted 2 Cents.
I usually adore stories that have dual or multi-perspectives, but low and behold, for the first time in my reading history, it didn't work for me. My biggest issue with TIWIE, was the many POV's we were forced to read from -- the many I cared absolutely nothing about. Because the time frame of the shooting spans for all of 54 minutes, with about 3 of those minutes split between 4 different students, you literally have ZERO time to connect with anyone. There's no room to talk about these characters without dropping spoiler bombs, but honestly, there's not much to discuss. We have Claire the track runner, Tomas who's " Opportunity's favorite bad boy, " (his words not mine), his sister Sylvia, and Autumn, a dancer. All of these students are not only connected to each other, but to the shooter as well, which could've created an incredibly dynamic story, if everyone weren't so damn one-dimensional.

I was bored to tears with their sob stories, and don't get me started on how I mentally gouged my eyes out because they all shared the same monotone narrative. I wanted all of these people to just poof and be gone, but since that wasn't happening, I continued to flip through the pages like I would a healthy living magazine, I was THAT uninterested.

Strike Two
Connection Failed. Please Proceed With Caution.
As readers, it's almost imperative that we make some sort of connection with the books that we read. I don't care if it's through the writing, the characters, or the concept itself, there needs to be a strong pull that plugs us into the story and keeps us there. As I mentioned earlier, I had a problem connecting with the characters, but what broke the camel's left toe for me, was how I found it impossible to become emotionally attached to the story. Now, I'm the toughest person you'll ever meet, but as all Leos tend to be, I'm such a baby. I cried reading Ugly Love, Forbidden, What You Left Behind, I'll Meet You There, (and a slew of others) yet when faced with what is known to be America's cruel reality, I shed not one tear. I blame the shooter.

Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.

This quote is almost laughable. I struggled to take the shooter seriously, especially when he's dressed like he's attending a life-changing interview, laughing while he randomly ends the lives of students and teachers. His character felt completely forced, almost as if the author tried to make a carbon-copy of The Joker, but couldn't quite get it right. His motive was indeed clear, (by clear I mean predicable) and with a back-story that included major plot holes, he ended up being a joke. Anything but fearful.

Strike Three
I'm Over It

I definitely don't mean to sound insensitive here, but its hard for me not to express how disappointed I am. This is Where It Ends had the opportunity to be such an important read, to shed light on how terrifying a school shooting can be, especially through the eyes of those who are front and center, but somewhere it missed it's mark, and unfortunately it fell a bit short. The writing was okay, good enough to keep me reading, but not good enough to keep me engaged, and the lack of emotion for the characters and situation, just caused me to give up on the book long before it ended. Maybe some of you will come out with a better experience, I on the other hand, would rather play connect 4 with my son's dinosaurs, that's how over this I am.



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