This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp #TuesdayBookBlog

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming 24529123the 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
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
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. – Goodreads.com

I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to read this book for a couple of reasons – I know something like this can happen anywhere at any time, and I have a son in high school.  When this book is published, I’m fairly confident it may be controversial, but I’m glad I read it and thought the author did an excellent job of not shying away from the hard truths that go along with a horrific incident such as this.

I thought the multiple POVs were essential to this story – a diverse group of students, some who are held hostage by the shooter and others who are in various places on campus when the shooting begins.  Through these varying POVs, the reader is given a backstory on the shooter and his previous interactions with these characters – some of which were good and some bad.  Since the time span of this story is only 54 minutes, it moves along at a brisk pace and I honestly could have finished it in one sitting.

Within the ensemble of characters, I only had trouble keeping a couple of them straight.  There were two girls who had strained relationships with their brothers and I confused them a few times, but with such well-developed characters, that hardly seemed an issue.  Without giving away spoilers, near the end of the book, I thought the actions and reasoning of one character felt slightly illogical and unbelievable, going above and beyond normal human instincts, especially those of a teenager.

Given the difficult subject matter, this is powerful debut novel that is dark, heart-breaking, haunting, sobering, and highly suspenseful and demonstrates how a whole community can be affected by the heinous actions of one person.  Definitely recommended.  This Is Where It Ends is scheduled for publication January 6th, 2016.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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