Review: This Is Where It Ends

I was successfully marketed to for this book by The Big Library Read at the LA Public Library.  It’s a book targeted to young adults – the Twilight demographics – about a school shooting.  A book for high schoolers about a school shooting seems inherently interesting to me.

Overall, Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends is a well constructed thriller with some meat to it. Nijkamp builds a set of detailed characters who turn like clockwork through a believable scenario.  The motivations all feel realistic to me, often forming reasons for the horrifying actions without becoming excuses.  The story is told from various students’ points of view that form a mosaic view of the events.  The plot and storytelling are excellent.

The diversity of the cast is also impressive.  Despite being set in a small town, the students all come from believably different backgrounds.  Multiple sexualities and ethnicities are all represented without feeling forced.  The sexuality of some of the students is a plot point, but not one that is overplayed.  It all fit together well and felt like a look at a realistic school, not something constructed to make a point.

The major shortcoming for me was that none of the student’s narration had a different voice to me.  Everyone had different details and features, but their word choices and sentence constructions all were consistent. Nijkamp corralled a bunch of diverse students who all talk like they’re in the same English class.  A missed opportunity, IMHO.


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