Review: This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publication: 01/05/2016 by Sourcebooks
Pages: 285 Pages
Format: Library Hardback
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
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Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Thoughts: 
I have no idea how to rate this book. It's a pretty controversial topic and this book wasn't easy to read. It scared the living daylights out of me. I am not from the United States, but the fear of a shooting happening is very real across the world. I am currently a university student who spends a lot of time in large auditorium style lecture halls, so the fear is very real. 

I had a very hard time putting this book down. I needed to know what happened to all the characters. I could have easily read this book in one sitting. The story was extremely scary and my adrenaline was racing for most of the book. I don't know how realistic the story was but I did find it to be believable for the most part. I kept getting flash backs to when I read Columbine, and saw parallels between the attacks. In addition, the school described sounded eerily similar to the school I went to which added an extra element for me. 

However, I did have some issues with the story. First, is that this would have become the deadliest school shooting in history if it was real. If I remember correctly, there was 39 fatalities which is a humongously devastating. Considering the area in which the attack happened it would be realistic, and worse attacks can happen at any time but it just seems very big based on the narrative given. The shooter was picking and choosing victims which takes time, but it would still have been a devastating attack.

What I didn't find realistic at all was the way the police handled the situation. Police would not just wait for a SWAT team, they would immediately enter the school in groups and try to find the perpetrator. Police have not taken the approach described in this book since Columbine in 1999! Because of Columbine they changed the tactic on how to handle active shooter scenarios and now enter immediately. There shouldn't be any scenario anymore where the shooter has upwards on an hour without the police attempting to intervene. Yes, the school in the book was out in the middle of no where. But there was enough officers on scene after the first few minutes that they would have been able to enter the school. 

Overall, this book was emotional and horrifying. I kept me on the edge of my seat and made my heart race. I really liked that the points of views that we got were close to the shooter (good or bad), which created a lot of inner conflict. However, the response time of the police is what bothered me the most. They would have been in the building much, much faster and it feel like there wasn't enough research into how police actually approach these situations in now. In the end, very thought provoking and scary. Worth the read.

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