This Is Where It Ends

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
This Is Where It Ends Book Poster Image
Harrowing and heartbreaking story of a school shooting.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Offers an opportunity for families to discuss the serious issues of bullying and gun violence.

Positive Messages

During a crisis, put aside your differences and help one another. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tomas and Fareed, who are breaking into a school office as the shooting begins, become unlikely heroes as they risk their own lives to help those trapped in the auditorium. But they take that risk after being told by police to leave the school. Autumn puts herself in danger by confronting her brother, Ty, the shooter. They are positive role models but also serve as a serious caution to readers, as two will pay a high price for their heroism. The story has numerous examples of students who comfort and shelter others as the shooting continues. 

Violence

Dozens of students and teachers are killed or wounded. Many of the shootings are graphically described. Tyler kills both randomly and with intent, and some students who are intentionally singled out and shot are among the most innocent and vulnerable at the school. Tyler is beaten by his father and verbally threatens Sylvia and Tomas.

Sex

One opposite-sex couple and one same-sex couple kiss. Autumn and Sylvia have not come out to friends at school about their relationship.

Language

"F--k" is used a few times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Tyler and Autumn's father has a drinking problem.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the New York Times bestseller This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp, is a brutal and terrifying story of a high school shooting. Taking place in only 54 minutes and told from the perspective of four students, it unfolds in chapters covering one to three minutes. The four, whose lives are all linked to the teen shooter, tell their stories in real time as well as in flashbacks that examine what may have motivated the rampage. Because the novel takes place in under an hour, the violence is almost unceasing, giving the reader few emotional breaks. Dozens of students and teachers are killed or wounded. Many of the shootings are graphically described. Tyler kills both randomly and by singling people out. As for strong language, "f--k" is used a few times. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12, 13, and 16 year old Written byEvie W. January 20, 2017

Horribly sad book, but intriguing!

I read this book and so did both of my daughters! It is horribly, horribly sad, and the violence is sometimes too much. I cried and cried, but it was good altho... Continue reading
Adult Written byTysha s. March 15, 2018

Really good for teens!

This Is Where It Ends is a really good book for teens. I honestly don't think anyone over 17 would enjoy it, because its just drags on for a really long ti... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byIRBot November 5, 2016

A very beautiful and saddening story

I really enjoyed reading this story. I haven't read a realistic fiction book in forever, and this was a nice change. Sometimes I had trouble getting throug... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byleti_cx April 6, 2017

Emotional rollercoaster

It is full of suspense, heartbreaking stories and valuable lessons. There is a lot that happens in a period of 54 minutes.

What's the story?

Tyler Browne's mother has died, his father drinks, and he's dropped out of school. On the first day of the spring semester, he returns to his high school in the small Alabama town of Occidental to exact revenge on anyone who may have bullied or slighted him. Four students narrate THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS -- Tyler's sister, Autumn, and her girlfriend Sylvia; his former girlfriend, Claire; and Sylvia's brother, Tomas. Tyler is outraged at Autumn and Sylvia's relationship, mourning the loss of Claire, and determined to even the score with Tomas. As the students and teachers remain trapped in the auditorium, will anyone step up to lead an escape? 

Is it any good?

Intense and compelling, this debut novel balances the senseless violence of a school shooting with uncommon acts of courage and compassion by a diverse cast of characters. The students come from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds (white, Latino, African-American, Christian, Muslim) and sexual orientation.

It's initially a bit difficult to sort out the characters and their relationships to one another, but once that comes together the interweaving of their stories gives insight into how Tyler went from a loving and supportive brother to a remorseless killer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what students should do if a shooting happens at their school. If you have a chance to be a hero and help others, should you take it? In a dangerous situation such as a school shooting, how do you decide if an action is heroic or reckless? 

  • How do you feel about the relentless violence in the novel? Is necessary to tell the story and for realism? 

  • Do you think intense media coverage has contributed to the increase in school shootings? What should be done to identify and get help for teens who have this much anger and rage?

Book details

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