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Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Title: This is Where it Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Year Published: 2016

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 282
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (AL)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 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: When I saw this book at Costco, I felt like it was timely and appropriate given the events in Parkland, Florida that took place just 2 months ago. But really, these events have been taking place since 1999 in Columbine, CO.

Yes, this is timely and yes, it is super good. Maybe it's because I am a secondary teacher that this book resonates with me, but maybe it really is just a very good novel.

As the description above suggests, the book takes place over 54 minutes. 54 minutes of terror. Each chapter is a 2-minute segment of the school shooting at Opportunity High School and within each chapter we hear from Claire, Autumn, Sylvia, and Tomás. We get their play-by-play experience and thoughts, which makes the event seem very real, very raw, and very emotional.

Claire happens to be at track practice so is on the outside while her brother is in the auditorium. Autumn is the sister of the shooter and she is also in the auditorium. Sylvia and Tomás are twins, one is in the auditorium and one is in the principal's office when the shooting begins. Autumn and Sylvia are dating. Claire used to date the shooter. Opportunity is a small town where everyone knows everyone's business and it all comes crashing down in this 54 minutes.

I liked all four of the characters and wanted them all to survive, to be brave. I wanted the adults in the room to be sensible and safe. I wanted the hundreds of students trapped in the auditorium to make good choices so they could escape and I wanted a SWAT team to arrive in time. I don't always get what I want.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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