Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: This Is Where It Ends

Title: This Is Where It Ends                  
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller
Publication: 2016
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

The Cover 

I really like this cover, it immediately caught my eye and I can imagine it's like that for a lot of people. Besides looking great aesthetically, the different colors of chalk against the black background look great and I like that the fonts are kept white and rather simple except for the one that looks like chalk writing (which then brings the whole black background to another level). Further it really fits the story as well, the chalk indicates it's set at a school and obviously the broken chalk stands for the bullets but also for the broken characters. Really, very well designed.

The Story

This is the kind of book where you don't want to know too many things before going in and really you basically only need to know the premise of it so I'll just copy the summary from Goodreads here as it perfectly sums up what a reader needs to know before starting this on. It's hard to say more about this book without giving too many things away.

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.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone 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.

My Thoughts 

I randomly came across this book when I got an email from Netgalley with a read now offer for this book. The author's name grabbed my attention as she's Dutch and I was surprised to see an English novel from a Dutch author. The description of the book seemed intriguing as did the cover so I quickly clicked and was able to get an arc. I'm glad I did because I might have otherwise missed this one. It's not a book that leaves you happy, it's an edge of your seat read so make sure you got some time on your hands when you start this because you will not be able to put it away easily. The story is what it is of course, as you can gather from the summary it's about a school shooting which is obviously a tricky subject to write about I guess.

It's a compelling story though and it simply works. The writing flows very well and even though we get four different point of views it all works. Every chapter starts with a time indication and only spans a couple of minutes. We then get to read about the different things the characters are going through during those minutes. The time indication is really cleverly done I think, it's a neat way to get the reader deeper involved in the story. Further the author has made use of blog entries and tweets that make the whole novel feel even more harrowing as people tweet and write about what is going on in real time. I really liked Nijkamp's writing style, it definitely fit the story in the sense that she mostly uses short sentences that move the story forward quickly and conveys the characters feelings and thoughts very well.

The characters are super diverse which is awesome of course as a lot of YA novels feature the same kind of people but here we have a lesbian couple, POC characters, a disabled boy, and it's refreshing to see these kind of characters features. Here's to hoping there will be more novels like this because it's something the YA world needs. Through the four characters that tell the story, we get to know them: their current situation, their past through flashbacks, and they also all know the boy with the gun so we can create a picture of him in our heads as well. Although as I was reading I was thinking that a fifth POV from the shooter would have been interesting as well; we do get a lot of information about him but I would have liked to read what was going through his head when he did what he did. Also, even though we learn a lot about the four characters, I still didn't really feel like they were very distinctive besides their "things" to put it that way. It's an understandable choice though because the focus of the story is elsewhere and it's not a very long novel either, and the choice to concentrate on what they're going through is an understandable one.

All in all, this is a really thrilling read which keeps you on the edge of your seat. You'll cry, you'll be afraid, you'll wonder what you would do in the same situation, and you'll keep wondering what will happen till the last pages. If you think the topic of the story is up your alley and you know you won't be disturb by some brutal scenes, I definitely recommend this book. It will be published in January 2016 so you'll have to wait a while to get to it though but it will be worth the wait! In the meantime I'll be looking forward to see what Marieke Nijkamp will do next.

Thanks a lot to Sourcebook Fire for the free ARC through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

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