This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.
Published by Sourcebooks on 5th January 2016.
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: a gift from my grandparents for Christmas.
My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Synopsis: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won't open.
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. [synopsis from Goodreads]
This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016, so imagine my joy when I unwrapped it on Christmas day! Somehow my grandparents had managed to get hold of an early release copy for me and of course it was the first book I picked up after the Christmas festivities had settled down. I read This is Where it Ends in two intense and emotional sittings and let's just say my mind and body really weren't ready for the rollercoaster that is this book.
Given the novels sensitive subject matter it doesn't feel quite right to say that I enjoyed it but the writing, plot, character development and pacing were all amazing and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year.
Taking place over the space of just fifty-four minutes, the plot is fast-paced without ever feeling rushed. Nijkamp takes the time to go into each of the characters' backstories in a way that doesn't feel forced and flows well with the present-day narrative. With multi-perspective narratives, I usually struggle to fully connect with each character but that definitely wasn't a problem with This is Where it Ends. Each of the four character perspectives had their own unique voice and I was desperate to find out what was happening to each one of them, to find out what they were thinking. In just a few short pages I found myself intensely invested in every single character, even the ones whose perspectives we don't read from - the other students and the teachers.
My heart was in my throat the entire time and I had to keep closing the book to take deep breaths and calm down. This is one of those books that just gets to you, that settles oddly in your stomach and lingers in your mind for a long time afterwards. Days after finishing the book, some of the most haunting passages are still with me and I can't stop thinking about certain moments.
This is Where it Ends is such an incredible and incredibly important book and a surprisingly wonderful debut for Marieke Nijkamp. I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us in the future.
Have you read This is Where it Ends? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!