This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Nothing happens at Opportunity High. Not until the doors of the packed auditorium won’t open and someone starts shooting. Nothing happens at Opportunity High until the day its torn apart by bullets.
What I Thought of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Although This Is Where It Ends is original and well written, it holds a very unfair and over-simplified view of an incredibly real and important topic: school shootings. Generally, I like sad books, especially ones that cover new and controversial subjects. However, this book falls short with its unrealistic plot.
To start with what This Is Where It Ends did right, the 4 perspective narration was pulled of rather well. It was interesting to see the varying opinions on the shooter named Tyler and to read the plot develop in four different situations. In addition, the writing was fairly good. For a mid-length book covering over less than an hour of time, it was a surprisingly quick and easy read. The constant action mixed with bittersweet flashbacks, so the story didn’t get too repetitive or boring like I expected. In fact, the flashbacks were probably the best part of this book. In all other respects, the plot and character development were awful.
With This Is Where It Ends, the author had an opportunity to address how such terrible events could be prevented. Instead, Tyler was painted as a textbook villain with no real motivation (of course, no motivation is valid for a crime like this, but still). This book could’ve focused on the factors that went into Tyler’s decision to commit such tragic actions, but it instead made him out to be an 18 year old “bad guy”. Even his sister Autumn was able to accept the fact that her only real family was pointing a gun at her peers and teachers in less than ten seconds. Additionally, it portrayed the police force as useless and incompetent. Somehow, they were okay with a couple seniors running the rescue of the entire student body. Apparently, throwing around the words “triage” and “emergency center” makes the author a police procedure specialist. Finally, the plot in general made very little sense. After the way the office, gym, and auditorium locations were described, Opportunity High School must’ve had the structural layout of a Pac Man maze, which made everything ten times more confusing. With all the plot holes and general unlikelihood of what happened, it is evident that the author really didn’t think much of this through.
Overall, This Is Where It Ends took a very promising premise and made it into a huge disappointment. Even though I loved the idea, I can only give the execution 2 stars due to the black and white “bad guy” and laughably unrealistic plot.
The most memorable part of this book is Tomás’s sacrifice. Although it made zero sense and was kind of dumb, it was unexpected and memorable as well.
Overall Rating: 2 Stars