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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

January 31, 2017

Four students arrive at Opportunity High: some filled with hopes for a new start, others not able to let go of the past. But all of their worst fears come true when, minutes after the school principal finishes her speech welcoming the students to a new semester and encouraging them to shape the future, the students get up to leave and discover that the auditorium double doors are locked. The students swarm around the doors, trying to get them open, when a dark figure appears in the room standing in the frame of the only open door—holding a gun.

The book continues telling the minute-by-minute story of one student’s calculated revenge, the heartbreak of those he kills, and the fast-paced game of survival. The reader closely follows four students: Autumn, the shooter’s sister whose mother recently died; Claire, who wasn’t in the building but wants to help; Sylv, Autumn’s girlfriend who has also had a complicated life; and Tomás, who desperately tries to protect his sister.

This read was gripping and well written. Nijkamp not only crafted a fast-paced plot, but also created characters that changed and grew over the course of the book. Throughout the novel, the characters have flashbacks to important parts in their life, which add up to tell the story of how they got to where they are now. For example Autumn’s memories are about her father who turned abusive after her mother’s death and how her brother Ty reacted. After reading about each story you learn more about that character’s complicated connection to Tyler. This shows the reader more of what is going on inside his head, as well as the motives behind his violent actions.

Nijkamp tells a compelling story that makes you think about other people and the world around you. She explores an emotional topic through the eyes of four complex yet relatable teenagers, and it will leave you full of questions about the society we live in.

This Is Where It Ends sucked me in from the first chapter. Anyone who reads it will thoroughly enjoy the heart-pounding story about love, loss, and the power of forgiveness. Nijkamp effectively brings you into the lives of Autumn, Claire, Slyv, and Tomás, and you feel deeply connected to them as they try to stay alive in a school taken over by fear.

Overall, this was an amazing book I couldn’t put down. It was an exciting and touching novel that even made me cry. I believe any reader who tries it will more deeply understand the hate and cruelty that causes people to act brutally, and be shocked at how those actions can effect so many people in different ways. So be prepared for an emotional ride that will leave you brokenhearted and full of new realizations.


Source Books, 282 pages

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