Nov 042015

Cover for This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. Five brightly colored pieces of chalk explode in front of a chalkboard as they are hit with a bullet.Publishers Weekly: Sometimes the most terrifying horrors are not those involving monsters out of fantasy but those taken straight from today’s headlines. Nijkamp’s debut follows four high school students on their first day of the spring semester in Opportunity, Ala. Over the course of 54 minutes—the amount of time a gunman holds their school hostage—their lives collide. Each of the four has an intimate connection to the shooter, and all must find a way to face the unfolding tragedy. While Claire views the event from outside the school, Autumn, Sylv, and Tomás are on the front lines. Love, loyalty, bravery, and loss meld into a chaotic, heart-wrenching mélange of issues that unite some and divide others. A highly diverse cast of characters, paired with vivid imagery and close attention to detail, set the stage for an engrossing, unrelenting tale. The starkly chilling realism and themes of abuse, death, and assault, among others, may prove too much for younger or sensitive readers, but the story unquestionably leaves an indelible mark.