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.
I first heard about this book on the All the Books! Podcast and added it to my TBR shelf on GoodReads mostly so I would remember the title. I then saw it at the library, remembered not only the title but also what it was about and decided to check it out. Once I decided to read it I started and finished this book in one day. That’s how gripping it was. I started this book after a rough morning at work and really just didn’t want to fold my laundry. So I read this book instead.
I really liked the multiple perspectives. Every character felt different and had their backstory and personality, but the writing felt cohesive. It took me awhile to remember how all the different characters were connected just because you are dropped in the middle of everything that’s been going on with these characters. Once you get all the relationships down it’s smooth sailing. While we didn’t get too much character development, we did get a decent amount of background information on them, which made it easier to relate to them.
While the different characters each have their own backstory you get to see a snapshot of, the plot is what really drives this book. It progress from right before the active shooter situation begins until the police have intervened and the shooter has been disarmed. It is a very gripping and fast paced book; it takes place over the course of 54 minutes. Because it’s an active shooter situation, it’s very violent, so if you get really squeamish about that I wouldn’t recommend picking this up. This book really puts you into the heads of the different characters and what they’re feeling and thinking in the moment.
Because all the relationships are connected in this book, it’s difficult to talk about those relationships without spoilers. But I did like how we got see people on the outside of everything in addition to the inside.Going into it, I expected purely inside perspectives so the diversity in that regard was nice. It was a point of view I didn’t expect and was thankfully to have. It gave perspective to how little you know when you’re on the outside of a situation like that. The book also had blog posts and tweets scattered throughout which plays into the social media aspect of it. Multiple perspectives worked really well in this book because it allowed you to see what was happening on the inside while also seeing what was being done to help on the outside.
One thing I was interested in was the point of view we don’t see- that of the shooter. It would have been interesting to see what drove them to do it, though we do get a peek towards the ends. Still, it would have been good to get inside their head and really get to the root of why they did it. Because while I can process some of their other actions, the final decision to shoot through a school is still somewhat of a mystery. I guess that’s up to the reader’s interpretation.
This is obviously a really sensitive subject. However, I felt like the author wrote the subject well and did so with politicizing it. This is a book that made me feel all the things for characters I had just met. And while I maybe felt the last scene wasn’t completely critical, it gave it an almost happy conclusion to what isn’t a happy book.
Honestly, this a book about a school shooting. Nothing more, nothing less. It is a sensitive topic, so if it’s something you feel might be too much for you, read at your own risk. But if you’re thinking you maybe want to read a book about a school shooting, I would highly recommend it. It’s fast-paced and keeps you reading.
Bookstore Rec Blurb: “This is Where It Ends is about a school shooting, the events leading up to it and how the community reacts. Good book to provoke discussion of such topics. Highly recommend.”