Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp...

How I Heard About It:  One of my goals as a reading is to always be reading from a middle-grade book, a young-adult book, and an adult novel.  I was looking for my next young-adult read when I came across this title on the shelf at the local bookstore.  The cover caught my attention.  The title was intriguing. I read the book blurb and added this title to my stack of purchases.  

What It Is About:  An entire story that spans over fifty-four minutes.  I don't think I've ever read a story set up this way before.  The setting is a small town named "Opportunity, specially the high school in town.  The new semester has just begun and the principal is giving the annual speech in the auditorium.  All of the students and staff are in this space.  Well, everyone except for two students that are using this "opportunity" to sneak into the office to sneak a look at some student files.  There is also one other student that isn't initially at the program.  Tyler enters the auditorium as the principal is finishing the speech.  Tyler has locked all the doors leading to and from the auditorium.  He has a gun and more ammunition that anyone would care to realize.  The entire student body is locked into this one space with a gunman that is on a mission.  It is up to the two boys in the principal's office, two students out on the high-school track, and the entire student body to survive this horrific event and "take down" this student with as few killings as possible.  

What I Thought Of It:  This is a hard story to review and share my thoughts.  I've never read anything like it.  As I was reading about this span of fifty-four minutes, I felt like I was right in the school along with the characters telling the story.  It was raw, powerful, real, and disturbing.  Once I started the book I really couldn't stop reading.  Even when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about the story line.  It felt like the events were taking forever to unfold and I had to keep reminding myself of the time frame.  Each chapter captured what was happening in the high school over a period of a few minutes.  The chapters were also divided up from multiple perspectives of characters experiencing this tragic event.  All of the characters had some sort of relationship to the gunman.  There were times when I was frustrated with the unraveling of events and thought that wouldn't happen in "real life".  I just had to remind myself this was a work of fiction and wasn't the telling of an actual event in our history of gunmen in our schools.  One word that would describe this reading experience would be "unputdownable"!  

Who Should Read It:  In some ways, this could be required reading for high school students.  In the wake of "historical" shootings in our school, most people will be able to relate to the tragedy and senselessness of these events.  The story was handled with care and sensitivity.  Adult readers will also find it a powerful read.  I know some readers have reviewed this book poorly because of the content and how it was handled, but overall I think the author did a tremendous job of telling a story that she felt was important.  This will definitely be a story I'll be sharing with people and recommending them read.  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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