It is the story of a teen that has lost contact with reality and blames others for his feelings of abandonment and loneliness. He enters his former high school armed with the means to lock down the school on his terms, with a deadly weapon to “show the world” and “to be remembered.” The reader is initially placed outside when the gun shots are heard for the first time, locked out of the auditorium. As the story progress, the author places you right there inside the auditorium facing death.
The story unfolds in four voices:
- Claire is a senior on the track team who was excused from the school assembly this morning along with several other team mates for early morning practice.
- Tomas, on detention with his friend Fareed, for gluing the desk drawers of a teacher, also excused from the assembly.
- Sylv is a senior with her choice of college.
- Autumn is a junior and a gifted dancer with a dream.
The last two aren’t so lucky. They are seated in the auditorium with a thousand other teens listening to the Principal’s speech. That is until a young man steps up on stage to ask a question. A young man with a gun named Tyler.
Tyler is Autumn’s brother. He is the son of an abusive alcoholic and their mother died two years ago in car accident. Tyler’s girlfriend broke away from him when she saw the mean, abusive side he had hidden for so long. In his eyes, he has lost everything and everyone he ever loved. Tyler believes that it’s his turn to make people sit up, take notice of him, and pay for the pain they have caused him.
You are there, watching while innocent teens are murdered or maimed. You are running for help but feel helpless to do anything about what is going on inside the school. You are the heroes that, in spite of their bad boy images, risk their lives to free those students under fire.
Through flashbacks and memories you will learn about Claire, Tyler’s ex-girlfriend and her disabled brother Matt, who is in the auditorium. Fareed, Tomas’ cohort in crime, is an A student who happens to be Muslim. Tomas and Sylv are twins who were so close until a year ago and whose mother is mentally drifting away. Autumn dreams of going to Julliard when she graduates. She is also Sylv’s girlfriend.
The story draws you in and places you in seat at the center of the terror. It locks you outside, scared for those inside the assembly hall, feeling helpless and places you in a heroes shoes. This isn’t just a headline story anymore. The fictional story has all the grit of a true tale.
This Is Where It Ends is a drama filled novel, full of emotion that may have you taking a second look at some of the people around you and realizing that there is more to them than what you can see on the outside. And while Marieke Nijkamp has given us a diverse group of characters (various ethnic origins, different religions, and gay teens), each has their own perspective of what’s happening and what they are capable of doing. Some are too terrified to move, some try to escape where there is no escape, some are targeted for death, and a few are foolishly brave, heroes.
By the end of the story, I really cared about this group that I had only met for a few hours before, and wondered where the the survivors would be a year from now.
Formats Available: Book (Regular Type), eBook
Reviewed by Katy, Shawnee Branch