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This Is Where It Ends confronts school shootings

This Is Where It Ends speaks to today’s hyper-violent climate.
Photo: Katrina Silbaq · The Sentry

A novel that aims to find common ground

Some of the most terrifying stories don’t come from monsters out of a fantasy book but rather from real life events that take place in the headlines that are seen every day. Marieke Nijkamp’s book This Is Where It Ends highlights just that: a school shooting, told through four different perspectives.

Each of the narrators, which include the shooter’s ex-girlfriend; sister; and a pair of twins, one of which is the sister’s girlfriend, all help tell the story. Every perspective is told in sections in the same time frame as the events that are taking place, spanning a 54 minute period. As the story unfolds, the reader becomes aware of just how heavy and frightening a school shooting can be. 

The use of the four narrators works well to create a realistic portrayal of what it might be like to be in a school shooting. Each narrator also helps create a real and full picture of who the shooter, Tyler, is as a person by talking about their own personal experiences him. Not only does the reader see more into who Tyler is but the reader gets to see the personal relationships each character had with him before the shooting took place.

Each person’s different perspective of who the shooter is gives the reader more details  and insight into why this troubled teen wants revenge on the people from his past.   

This Is Where It Ends creates a safe space for the reader to experience a traumatic event. This book opens the door for questions and discussions about school shootings. It sets a precedent to better understand school violence and may even help lead people toward a solution. For anyone who attends school or works or volunteers in a school, This is Where it Ends, is an essential read.

While the book may not give someone a full experience of what it is like to be in a school shooting, it does give people a chance to start to understand what their thought process might be during such a traumatic event.

Because  shootings are happening more and more frequently, it is important to keep an open conversation about shootings, especially with youth. Most of the time, it can be easy to stray away from talking about sensitive or gruesome topics, but it is important to keep the conversation open.

A book like this This Is Where It Ends gives anyone a chance to experience how prevalent school shootings have become instead of just ignore them.

By being able to open up the floor about shootings and what might be going through one’s head when held captive in a school with an active gunman, This Is Where It Ends can help students and teachers be more prepared.

Nijkamp’s provides a narrative experience that doesn’t sugar coat what it’s like to be in a building with an active shooter.

Instead, it takes on a role that shows just how terrifying real-life events like these can be by letting the reader into the character’s deepest thoughts.

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