This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 2.0

This Is Where It Ends tells the story of a school shooting – from its terrifying beginning to its chilling end.

Honestly, I had such high hopes for this – I had expected a book that would have gnawed at my very core and revealed how complex people are, that the world is not divided into good and evil.

That was what disappointed me. I felt like the characters in this book were much too underdeveloped. The line between victim and villain in this book is divided so very clearly – the shooter was the bad guy, and that was that. Sure, he had a reason, a motivation, but it seemed purposefully weak, as if it was an attempt at depicting his perspective while allowing the reader to continue seeing him as nothing but a heartless killer.

Similarly, the victims were boxed in clearly – friends and family of the shooter who had had no idea that such a thing would have happened. I felt like I couldn’t connect to them enough, not to mention that at times I even felt like they were there just to amplify the contrast between good and evil.

I felt like another reason I may not have connected to the characters enough were the switching perspectives. I felt as though all four of the narrators simply sounded too similar and began to blur into one another as I was reading.

The writing was mediocre at best, and despite the heavy topic, the book didn’t evoke any strong emotion from me – not sadness, not fear, not anger. When I think about school shootings that happen in the world today, I do feel these things, but everything this book just seemed too monotonous.

However, I do very much respect the writer for approaching this topic – especially in current times – and so I give this book two stars for its frightening depiction of reality, although I do wish it had been executed better.

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