Thursday, March 24, 2016

This Is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

The entire student body is locked in the auditorium of Opportunity High School when a school shooting erupts. When the students rush the doors, they find them chained and padlocked.  Now they're stuck in a confined space with someone bent on getting revenge and harming anyone who gets in his way.

Told from the perspectives of four students inside and outside waiting, where 54 minutes feels like 12 hours.

I've been going back and forth on my feelings for this book from the first chapter on.  I was excited to read it from the moment I heard about it-- I love a book about tough subjects.  I love Contemporary that is not about the Romance.  Also, I just freaking love the cover of this book.  But right from the get-go I could tell this wasn't going to be what I thought it was.  Although it is definitely about one of the toughest subjects there is (a horrific school shooting), I just wasn't FEELING it the way I normally do when I read books like this.  And I hate saying this because I really feel like books on the tough stuff are SO important.

First the good:  I loved how after about half-way through I could not put it down.  That's really what saved it for me.  For all the things I didn't like so much, it definitely didn't lack in keeping me hooked.  I liked the relationship between Sylv and Autumn best.  It was one that truly felt real and came from a place of true feeling.  Also, Matt was a stand-out character.

Now the not so good: This book is told in four perspectives, which is usually a big YES for me.  I love multi-perspective books.  But this was like reading from 1 perspective that happened to be able to apparate around campus.  None of the characters had a distinct personality to me.  They all had the same voice and this odd way of philosophizing about the event as it was going on.  The whole thing was less than an hour, so the amount of time they all stopped to think about meanings and relive past events didn't feel real.

The other thing that pushed me in the MEH category for this book was the way the shooter was portrayed.  I don't think someone who shoots innocent people in a public space should be sympathized, but the author made sure that by the end of the book there was no doubt in anyone's mind exactly how bad this kid was.  ALL BAD.  I think when things like this happen it is complicated, not overly simplified in GOOD and BAD.  That's what this book was- the selfish and the selfless.  I want a book dealing with subjects like this to dig deep and ask the hard questions.  I want to be left thinking about things and not told what to think.

Lastly, books like this usually CRUSH me.  And I definitely felt sad, but I wasn't BROKEN and sobbing in a corner like I've been in the past.  This book just didn't go there for me.  It showed me awful, horrific, meaningless murders, and I felt terrible reading about that stuff.... but the characters didn't let me in enough to really FEEL like I was expecting to.  This subject-matter is just too important for the way this book portrayed it.  The over-the-top unnecessary drama (mainly the whole Sylv-Tyler thing) really pushed me over the edge.  It felt so fake and put there squarely to villainize Tyler even more.  As for the small romance that was thrown in??  I wasn't a fan.  I get that tragedy can bring people together... but who thinks about becoming more-than-friends while people are dying???????

OVERALL: I really really wanted to love this.  I didn't.  If you want to read a book about a school shooting, I would recommend The Hate List by Jennifer Brown (one of my faves) or Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.  Both were better.

This Book Includes:
  • Death
  • Dance
  • Friendship
  • Opportunity, Alabama
  • Diverse characters
  • Track
  • ROTC
  • Abuse
  • Drinking
  • A massive school shooting
  • Terrible, graphic murders

My Rating: 2/4

Date Published: 1/5/2016
How I got this book: I bought it
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Character: Claire
Book: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

  • With her being from a military family- her sister being overseas, her best guy friend going to West Point, and she's in the JROTC- I think this book shows a good portrayal of what it's really like to be in a relationship post-deployment.

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  1. I have to say I felt the same way. Some things were really sad and hard to read but others were just kind of uhh and mehh. Great review!

  2. Love the last tid bit--where you recommend book according to the character.

    I hate to sound insensitive but this plot did nothing to grab me. I just find that the "school shooting" theme is not done very well. Glad I managaed to avoid it. It's too bad you didn't/couldn't. Hope your next read is great!

    1. Thank you!! This definitely wasn't a fave for me :( These subjects are very hard to read about, so it's even more important for the authors to get them just right IMO.

  3. Sorry this one wasn't as good as you wanted it to be. I think I'll pass on this one. I agree about Nineteen Minutes! I love that one a lot.

    1. Nineteen Minutes was fab. And it did that thing where the villain isn't looked at sympathetically, but the situation feels more real because the villain feels like a real person. Things aren't easy in that book and they shouldn't be in this one either :(

  4. This was one I wanted to read so bad and still do to some extent. I just have seen so many reviews that were similar to yours. I agree that cover is amazing. I read and really liked Nineteen Minutes and will have to try The Hate List. Great review!

  5. The topic actually makes me not want to read it, although I do think it's great there are books about his topic. And I would expect there to be some shades of grey in a book like this and talk about why someone would do something like that, instead of picturing him as all bad. Although that might make it easier for people to think of considering what he does?
    I also love multiple point of views when done well, but it's too bad when the voices all blend together and you can't feel or care about them. Great review!

  6. Hmmm. I think I still want to read this one, but what you mentioned about the shooter being all bad would bother me as well. As you said, these things are complex, very complex... I'll wait a little maybe before reading it!

  7. Crud. I was really hoping this one set apart those very things you were looking for. I like how you described their indistinct personalities and voices. I'll be reading this one...eventually.