Nov 252015

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.School Library Journal: It’s the start of the spring semester at Opportunity High School in Opportunity, AL, and the school day is progressing as normal—until one revenge-minded student brings violence to this sleepy, close-knit community. This novel takes place over the course of 54 tense minutes, as four main characters (all of whom also conveniently have siblings affected by the shooting) narrate their harrowing experiences and consider their relationships with the shooter. Nijkamp populates Opportunity High School with a diverse representation of students, enriching the book with their varied experiences and reactions to the horrifying turn of events. The four main narratives are joined by text messages, tweets, and blog entries interspersed throughout, allowing for more viewpoints and commentary without narrative clutter. Although the work is devastating, it offers a small moment of optimism and closure at the end without resorting to an incongruous tidy ending. VERDICT With a thrilling narrative, topical subject matter, and diverse characters, this is a first purchase for libraries serving teens.