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.
10:03The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05Someone 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.
This is Where it Ends was a novel that I was looking forward to because of its gritty, realistic topic surrounding a high school shooting. Yet, the novel does not do itself justice.
First book of 2016 that I ended up reading, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I really did not want to give this book a 2 target rating, but poor circumstances brought about in the exposition of the novel: it fell flat. Flat characters, a drawn out plot with no emotional attachment or development in the characters or emotional involvement towards the multi-perspective narration (not an effective way) of maintaining the victims. The writing was lackluster and drawl for a gritty, emotional topic of a school shooting. It was bland, and I expected much more conviction and emotion especially with a topic such as this. Not just a by-stander’s approach to understanding a school shooting.
The intrusion of social media, text messages/emails, and blogs on top of the active narration and the flashbacks made it very hard to stay in-tune with the story. The writing style was in as much chaos as the shooting depicted. I love when novels put in technology, but Nijkamp could have formatted her novel better to give readers an emotional investment rather than just breeze through this book like I had.
When I read multiple voices in a story I expect one of those to be the antagonist of the novel. Why? Because I want to understand the character’s reasoning for their actions. Why did this young boy decide to bring a gun to his school? To begin shooting? What was he thinking? So when I picked up This Is Where It Ends I thought that I would be reading a POV of the school shooter rather than four different scared boys and girls whose stories merge and blend. The thrill was there with ambiguity on the shooter’s actions, but I felt disconnected from the story because of these same-shade points-of-view. I think the story would have increased in interest if we had short bursts of the antagonist’s thoughts and reasoning from a primary source. While many of the characters are diverse in their own way, their voices did not diversify themselves in the heat of the moment.