This week has been long and arduous. I finally succumbed to the illness that has been going around, I took a day trip to Exeter with my friend Evie (one of the few highlights of the week), I worked for three days, and I avidly read Jane Eyre for my Masters degree. With all the craziness that has been going on, when This Is Where It Ends landed on my doorstep, most unlike me as it was, I picked it up looking for a distraction and was immediately hooked. Second book of the year and the 2016 Reading Challenge, you were fantastic!
Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Favourite character: Tomas
Category: #23 A book that is published in 2016
“You can’t always keep your loved ones with us. You can’t always settle your life in one place. The world was made to change. But as long as you cherish the memories and make new ones along the way, no matter where you are, you’ll always be at home.”
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is set in a high school, in a small town aptly named Opportunity. Told from the perspectives of four students, over an incredibly short period of 54 minutes, it follows the unexpected and horrific events that unfold when a gunman enters the school and starts shooting.
The characters the story was told from were well developed: we heard from Claire (a track-team runner), Tomas (a troublemaker), Autumn (who dreams of becoming a dancer) and Sylv (a straight A student), all of whom conveyed their emotion excellently. The secondary characters were also brilliant, particularly Matt (Claire’s brother) and Far (Tomas’s best friend). There were some twists and turns in the novel, including a bombshell or two which were not expected, yet superbly added depth to the story. It was a shame that we didn’t get to see into the head of the shooter, but the background to his reasoning unfolded through the eyes of other characters (still, it would have only added to the plot had we heard firsthand his motivations, and what was running through his head as he committed his atrocious acts).
Ultimately this is a tale of bravery, love and loss. It is heart wrenching, harrowing and unforgiving, littered with rays of hope and the importance of family and friendship. It takes a lot for a novel to reduce me to tears, but the pain and suffering depicted in this story (which happens all too often in the world we live in) turned me into a blubbering mess.
If you’re looking for a hard-hitting YA contemporary, you need look no further.
I absolutely loved this book. It was so powerful: devastating yet uplifting. I loved the relationships between the characters, and how even the most fragile of threads connected everyone in the novel. It wasn’t perfect; sometimes I felt the characters were too strong to be an accurate representation of teenagers facing oblivion, but simply put, it’s one of my new favourite books!
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