Other Books: Before I Let Go
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.
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 don’t know whether or not to applaud Marieke Nijkamp for writing about a school shooting. (I might have to – I’ll honestly admit I haven’t read a single book about this particular subject.)
I won’t be applauding over the fact This Is Where It Ends is told in a span of about an hour from four different student perspectives.
Far too much is happening in the span of 1-3 minutes per chapter for the book to feel realistic in some parts. But the timing is the least of my worries, because I’ve never actually been a shooting (nor do I ever want to). Therefore, I don’t actually know. Maybe a lot of things actually happen in a minute when it comes to the fight for survival. Maybe everyone does everything faster, including moving around the outside of an auditorium (large or small, it wasn’t specifically mentioned, but let’s go with a typically large auditorium).
But then there are texts and social media and a blog. It only makes the book feel modernized.
I also won’t be applauding over the name, aside from the fact the punny side of me is in a fit of giggles the entire time. The city name – Opportunity – is one of those puns worthy of a major facepalm (but I do love horrible puns).
Anyways, to the student perspectives. All of them are related to or impacted by the shooter, Tyler, in some way.
- Autumn – Tyler’s sister who loves to dance.
- Sylv – Raped by Tyler for liking girls.
- Claire – Tyler’s ex-girlfriend (who apparently has a thing for kissing guys first).
- Tomas – Some sort of clash/feud with Tyler. Among other problemos. Oh, and Sylv’s twin brother.
Then the shooter. Tyler, who apparently has a lot of problems with the above four people and many more. Who got kicked out of high school, planned to come back, and then decided to blow as many brains out as possible in the process.
I feel like I’m repeating what plenty of other reviewers have said thus far, but I have to say, I agree with them.
I want to hear from Tyler’s viewpoint. I want to hear his motives that led him to this action. I don’t really want to hear from four other people who may or may not know Tyler really well – they don’t actually read minds and are therefore more worried about the now (read: surviving or finding help), pondering on his motives, and wondering if they should have known he was going to go blow the brains out of people.
Maybe a prequel needs to be in store.
Although This Is Where It Ends should have been a sequel, it’s still psychologically impacting to those who had first hand experience with the topic.