This is where it ends by Marieke Nijkamp | Book Review

This novel contains themes of mass violence, weapons and death. Not for the faint of heart.

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10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the 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 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Initial Reaction:

At first, I didn’t quite like the flipping perspectives, I thought it had too many changes and I just wanted to follow what one person was happening. But once I got past ‘chapter three’ (We will discuss this later), I loved it. I couldn’t believe how well it was written, each character holding their personality strongly as it flipped between all four. I thought it was done really well.
Besides this, I was extremely shocked by how in-depth the emotions would be. I personally thought it would be ‘too much’ for another to handle, juggling the intense, controversial themes as well as holding the plot and building the characters up. But she did it wonderfully, I’m truly in awe of a brilliant writer.


A slow beginning was the perfect start to such an intense book because it slowly introduces you to the characters and the scene. However, be prepared, after chapter ‘three’ you are thrown into a fast-paced, emotion wrecking, devastation having story that grips you that forced you to read what it has to tell you. I could not put the book down and finished it in a sitting and a half.


In a start-of-semester routine assembly in the auditorium of a High School, all student body are gathered around. Waiting, inching towards the door for the final sentence to be said before they are allowed to leave. Finally, they are dismissed, but the doors won’t open. Confused and concerned, they attempt to unlock but it won’t open.
Suddenly, a student walks into the room, Tyler, from the only unlocked door in the auditorium. People start screaming but it is too late. He starts shooting. In an instant, 39 students are gunned down.

Tomas and Fareed are in the principal’s office when they hear the shots ring out. Acting quickly, they call the police where they are instructed to leave the school through the window and wait in the safety for help to come. However, Tomas knows his friend Sylvia is trapped in the auditorium and refuses to just stand by and wait for help to come. Arming themselves with equipment from the janitors closet when they find the janitor, strangled.

Outside on the track, Claire and her teammates hear the loud gunshots echo from the school grounds. Their coach, terrified and frozen, doesn’t know what to do. On pure instinct, Claire steps up and instructs her team on what to do, telling the younger girls to find a cellphone while she and her teammate Chris runs to get help. On their way out they discover the security guard. He’s dead, lying next to a car in the parking lot.

In an effort not to spoil this further, I am going to stop here, but if you’d like a full review of this novel go-ahead to-

Final Thoughts:

I don’t even know where to begin, how to even express the words this novel made me feel. To begin with, this novel follows four different student’s perspectives as they face a harrowing journey to survive a school shooting. Caged in and suffering, this novel threw me into a whirlwind of emotional mood swings.
From fear, relief to straight devestation- this book could not have expressed itself any more than it has, and for that, I salute a wonderful author.

Despite this, one part of the novel that was recurring had me quite baffled. Ever so often, after each chapter, we are given a blog entry with the title- “The Adventures of Mei” with a location and a mysterious blogger answering questions. I felt that is was completely unnecessary as it did not further plot the in slightest. It did not provide any unknown answers that we had gathered through the book, and the character was only mentioned during these blog posts. Not a single other time, from what I can recall.

Because of this, I nearly entirely skipped the blog posts. I feel it took away from the intensity of the novel by adding in a random character. I still haven’t quite gathered why it was included. So, because of this, I give it 4.5/5 bookmarks.

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