I have a split mind when it comes to This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp and the topic it covers. It is a very sensitive one, of course. School shootings are tragic, there is no denying it. Due to the sensitive nature, I find it is tough for books to tackle this topic well.
This Is Where It Ends splits the perspectives in this book between multiple students. This includes some stuck right in the path of the shooter, as well as a few who are in the school but not in the shooter’s path when everything starts. It also includes what appears to be a blog, and some people talking on Twitter.
The Twitter element is fascinating to me. I am on Twitter, of course, and anytime there is a mass shooting (which is too often), I always notice people talking about it on Twitter. Thus, I think this book plays well into that. With that said, I have a little bone to pick. I may be wrong, but it appears to me like there is one person tweeting during these portions who is inside the school? I read some that way. This is very problematic. I have seen people say many times that, if you are ever in this kind of situation, you should never be tweeting like that. Thus, while it is an interesting addition to the book, I think parts of it are problematic given the content and subject matter.
Years ago, when I was in grade 11 (I think, could have been grade 10), I read a book called Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Thinking about This Is Where It Ends, I cannot help but compare it to Nineteen Minutes, as they both cover the topic of a school shooting. Of course, they approach the topic in very different ways. I find each take interesting, of course, but would much rather read Nineteen Minutes again.
There is one other thing on my mind about This Is Where It Ends. I am not sure if this is a downside to the book or a good thing. While there is information in the book, I am still unsure about why the shooter did what they did. If I were to assume this is a good thing right now, I would say it is because sometimes I have no idea why real-life shooters commit their crimes. Sure, there are reports giving their reasons in some cases, but I still do not get why they had to resort to shooting to “fix” whatever their reason was.
I would have liked more of a clear answer why the shooter in this book decided to come in and shoot students and teachers. There is still a disconnect even with what the author included in the book. Thus, I am left with some unanswered thoughts and other musings.
Overall, however, I think This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a good novel. So long as you are okay with reading about such a sensitive topic, I would recommend you give this one a try. If you do, remember to let me know what you think!
Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire