This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5th 2016
ARC from Publisher
292 pages
Purchase on AmazonFully Booked


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.

When I received a copy of This Is Where It Ends, I was encouraged to write down words to describe the book using the chalk that came with the package. After reading it and devouring this book in a day, three words came to mind.


I’m that person who rarely ever stays tuned to the news. It’s not because I don’t care about what’s happening in the community or in the world- it’s because it’s honestly too easy to lose faith in humanity when I hear abut them. Every single day there’s someone committing crimes, immoralities and just hurting other people. It sucks.

“Death brings life; life brings death.”

But I do know about shootings happening in schools, etc. I just don’t know the stories behind them, how they happened, and just exactly how traumatizing and scarring they were. That is until this book came along.

To say that This Is Where It Ends felt realistic would be an understatement. With Nijkamp’s expert story telling and striking prose, I was right there with the characters when the boy with the gun arrived and locked them up in the auditorium, completely scared to death. The bloodshed was vicious and each bullet shot felt like the wind was being knocked out of me. Fear gripped at me- yet even then I couldn’t stop myself from turning pages.


A strong point of this one for me was the multiple POV of the people who were connected to the shooter. It worked really well to know this person’s motives (although not enough to know what completely drove him to the edge or what he was truly thinking but definitely enough to know that he was broken and not just absolutely evil) as well as know the impact and pain this event and several leading circumstances before it to these victims.

“You can’t always keep your loved ones with you. You can’t always settle your life in one place. The world was made to change. But as long as you cherish the memories and make new ones along on the way, no matter where you are, you’ll always be at home.”

The diverse cast of characters, Autumn, Sylv, Tomas and Claire, grew really close to my heart and it broke for each of them. It felt like they’ve already been through so much- had their own issues to deal with- but now they needed to face this horrifying threat to their very lives.

Also, it was great how prominent sibling relationships were in the book and how well the complexity of these relationships were portrayed. I loved Sylv and Tomas most of all though.


This Is Where It Ends was the first book to make me full on bawl in 2016 while and after reading it. It was so fucking heartbreaking. It hurt like a punch in the gut and made a mess of my emotions.

“Together, we’ll get out. Together, we’ll survive this. Together, we’ll be strong enough to face whatever comes our way. This is where it ends.”

I’m not sure I can say I loved such a sad painful book but I do love Nijkamp for summoning the courage to write it. I’m sure it was no easy feat. Although the book left me broken and hurt, almost as much as the fact that these stories happen in real life, I’m glad that this book exists in the world to open the eyes of more people.

I would absolutely recommend it to everyone for that alone but I know it’s hard to stomach so my advice would be this: pick up This Is Where It Ends with an open mind and a band aid for your heart. You’re gonna need them.

13 Responses

  1. Fabulous review, Hazel! I remember all to well what I felt while reading this book … basically everything you just described. I was scared, heartbroken, angry and freaking out along with everyone else. Everything felt so real … I had a hard time reading this – but also putting it down. Especially these days, with more and more crimes/shootings happening this book is an eye-opener. It’s important to read about something like this. To know how the people feel. How scared they are … God, I’m getting emotional again. *deep breath* But yeah, I would also recommend this to everyone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

  2. What a brilliant review! I read Underwater by Marisa Reichardt which dealt with how a school shooting affected one girl involved and it completely broke my heart and really made me think, so I’ll definitely be reading this!

  3. Ooh I love the photo at the top you made!! And wow! I love how you start off each paragraph with a word to describe the book. Unfortunately, I DNFed this one. I think the timeframe was just too short to get to know the characters and I was getting confused whenever it shifted point of views. I I wish I didn’t listen to the news as often either. It definitely breaks my heart every time there’s a tragic :(

  4. I try to stay away from current events also. All these things are happening, and I have no control over any of it. Nothing I do is going to change one single bit of it, so I’d rather just be oblivious. Unless something major happens. Then I tend to tune in. Anyhow, school shootings are tough. I have a kid in school and I think about it a lot. How it can happen anywhere, to kids of any age. Sandy Hook taught me that school shootings aren’t just limited to high schools like I thought they would be. I definitely want to read this book because I like reading about the tough subjects, but I can’t say it will be an easy read for me. I love your review!! Very thoughtful and the way you formatted it!! 2 thumbs up!

  5. I feel like this is the kind of book that really opens your eyes and helps you empathize with people who have experienced this kind of tragedy. Like you, I hate going through the news and reading about all the acts of violence committed because it honestly just makes me feel so scared for people who have to live through things like that. After reading this review, I’m not sure whether I want to read the book right away but I’m definitely going to keep it in mind until I’m ready to read it.

  6. I want this book! I like books about school shootings… :D It’s almost similar to one of my fave books, “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall” a true to life story of a girl and her final heroic stand during a shooting that happened at their school. The book was written by her mother so it gave me all the feels! There is also another book that I read similar to this: “Hey Nostradamus!” by Douglas Coupland which is inspired by Cassie Bernall’s story. :)

  7. I’ve read tons of reviews about this book, but this is by far one of the most touching review ever. I can feel your pain from each word that you typed out. And right now, I really seriously need to read this book. I’ve read a pretty similar book last year, Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican, and it opened up my eyes to the fact that school shootings do happen practically most of the time. Amazing review, Hazel!

  8. I have been hearing about this book a lot lately. When it come to YA contemps I prefer the darker, more serious ones so this sounds right up my alley. It’s good to hear that you were so emotionally invested in the story! That makes me want to read it even more :D I just recently finished reading The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, and I had similar feels about it as you did this one! Totally different subject matter, but just as important and heartbreaking a story. Definitely putting this one on my hold list :D:D

  9. Hi! Do you have an idea if This is where it ends is available here in the Philippines? If you do, can you tell me where specifically I can buy it? I’ve been interested in this book since I first read some infos and reviews about this. Thank you!

    1. I’m not sure but I think I saw it once at Fully Booked, although I can’t remember which branch. Best give them a call about it or inquire at their customer service. If it isn’t available, you can always have them order it for you. I hope you do get to read this one because it’s such an eye-opening book!

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