This is Where it Ends
Genre: Young Adult
Summary (from Goodreads): 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity 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.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
Review: This is a tragic story of a school shooting, told from the perspective of four students who know the shooter. The story was gripping and dramatic, and I found myself unable to put the book down, even though the author was realistically depicting a parent's worst nightmare. The focus of the story was on how the four main characters reacted to the situation, how they reminisced about their relationship with the shooter and with their friends trapped in the auditorium, and how they chose to act in a life-threatening situation. The author makes the reader think about how she would respond in this situation - would she have the courage to try to save a friend? I was amazed at the bravery shown by many of the students, and cried as they acknowledged the losses they all faced. Nijkamp painted a realistic picture of a truly tragic hour.
However, I didn't understand why four students were allowed to miss the all-school assembly for track practice (why not the entire team?), it seemed like a too convenient plot device. More importantly, I couldn't get a grasp on why the shooter decided to do what he did; I think the book would have benefited from a more in depth look at the shooter. And I guess I'm too old for this book - I found the random tweets at the end of some chapters to be distracting and unconnected from the narrative. But I can see how that would appeal to the young adult audience.
Rating: 4 stars