This Is Where It Ends

This Is Where It Ends

by Marieke Nijkamp


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A New York Times Bestseller!

Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's 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.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

#1 Young Adult Debut of 2016
Winter '15 Kids Indie Next List
Goodreads YA Best Books of the Month
Buzzfeed 5 YA Books You Should Be Reading This January 18 of 2016's Most-Anticipated YA Novels
BookRiot 15 Books out in 2016 You Should Mark Down Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492622468
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 01/05/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 73,340
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

MARIEKE NIJKAMP is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

10:01—10:02 A.M.


The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.

Track season starts in a couple weeks, but no one has told Coach Lindt about winter. He's convinced that the only way to get us into shape is to practice-even when my breath freezes right in front of me.

This is Opportunity, Alabama. Sane people don't leave their homes when it's white and frosty outside. We stock up on canned food, drink hot chocolate until we succumb to sugar comas, and pray to be saved from the cold.

Still, Coach Lindt's start-of-season training beats Principal Trenton's long and arduous start-of-semester speech-virtue, hard work, and the proper behavior of young ladies and gentlemen. After almost four years at Opportunity High, I can recite her words from memory, which is exactly what I did for Matt at breakfast this morning-responsibility, opportunity ("no pun intended"), and her favorite, our school motto: We Shape the Future.

It sounds glorious, but with months left until graduation, I have no clue what the future looks like. If Opportunity shaped me, I didn't notice. Running, I know. This track, I know. One step after another after another. It doesn't matter what comes next as long as I keep moving forward.

My foot slips, and I stumble.

From his position on the field, Coach curses. "Claire, attention! One misstep's the difference between success and failure."

Straightening, I refocus.

A familiar laugh colors the still morning. "Did you freeze up over holiday break, Sarge? A snail could catch up with you floundering like that." On the straightaway of the track, Chris falls into step with me.

I suck in a breath before I answer him. "Oh, shut up."

My best friend only laughs louder. The even rhythm of his footsteps and his breathing challenge me to find my pace. His presence steadies me like it always does. At six-foot-five and with sun-touched hair and blue eyes, Chris is not just our best runner but also Opportunity's poster-boy athlete. On uniform days, the freshman girls fawn over him.

With Chris by my side, my stride shortens. The other two runners on our varsity team are far behind us, on the other side of the field. Chris and I move in perfect synchrony, and the very air parts before us.

Nothing can touch us. Not snow. Not even time.

• • •


Time's up. The small clock on the bookshelf strikes ten with an annoying little tune, and I thumb through the tabs in front of me at supersonic speed. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon.

It only took superglue-strategically squirted on the desk drawers of my favorite Spanish teacher, Mr. Look-At-Me-Strutting-My-Stuff-Like-A-Walking-Midlife-Crisis-for Far and me to find our way to the administrative office. But it took both our student IDs before we managed to jiggle the lock on Principal Trenton's door. And it'll all be for nothing if I can't find the file I'm looking for. I scan the folders in the filing cabinet. When an elbow pokes my side, I startle. "Dammit, Far. What the hell?"

Fareed rolls his eyes and gestures for me to keep quiet. Someone's in the hallway, he mouths. He tiptoes back to the door.


How do I explain this? "No, ma'am, I'm not doing anything, just breaking into school records"?

Whatever. I'm sure I have a legal right to see my own permanent record, so I can always use that as my excuse. The fact that these folders just happened to be "Last Names, A—C" instead of "Last Names, M—N" is nothing more than a coincidence. No one knows whose file I'm looking for, except Far. And even he doesn't know the whole reason.

If anything, I can always "find" Al-Sahar, Fareed as a cover. The school administration can't even file his name right.


A door opens and closes. A lock clicks.

Footsteps squeak on the linoleum outside the administrative office.

Footsteps that pause before the principal's door-our door.

I quietly push the file drawer shut. Better not to stir up trouble-more trouble-if I get caught red-handed.

Far and I both hold our breath.

After what feels like forever, the footsteps move on. Whomever it was, they're not out to get us. Not today.

• • •


"'s all a matter of the decisions you make, today and every day. Your behavior reflects not only on yourself but also on your parents, your family, and your school.

"Here at Opportunity, we pride ourselves on shaping the doctors, lawyers, and politicians of tomorrow. And it's the choices you make now that will determine your future. You have to ask yourself how you can become the best you can be. Ask not what your school can do for you but what you can do for you."

Trenton holds the microphone loosely while she scans the crowd, as if memorizing every single face. So many students come and go, leaving nothing but the faintest impression, names scratched into desks and graffitied onto bathroom stalls, yet she knows us all.

All our hopes. All our heartbreaks. All our sleepless nights.

Her eyes linger on me, and my neck burns. I reach for the chair to my right, but it remains as it was when the assembly started. Empty.

To my left, Sylv groans. "After all these years, you'd think she'd come up with something more original."

"Don't you want to be the best you can be?" The words come out harsher than I intend.

She grumbles.

In truth, Sylv will have plenty of colleges to choose from. She's a shoo-in for all her dream schools. And I should be happy for her. I am happy for her.

But for me, college is the only way out of this misery, and Dad sure as hell isn't going to pay my ride. Not to study dance. "Look what happened to your mother," he'd say, as if I haven't counted the days, hours, minutes since Mom's accident. "Dance took everything from her. No daughter of mine is going into that business. Not if I can stop it."

So he tries to stop me-every day. And with Mom gone, there's no one to stop him. Not from drinking. Not from hitting me. There's no one to keep our family from falling apart.

I grip my crumpled coffee cup, grab the threadbare denim messenger bag from under my seat, and block out Ty's voice in the back of my mind. My brother would tell me that Principal Trenton's words are truer than I think, that the world is at my fingertips and it's up to me to make my future the best it can be.

I tried that and I lost. Now I'd rather escape.

• • •


I sink deep into my seat and glance at the empty place next to Autumn. He's not coming after all. He'd have been here by now. He won't come. I'm safe here.

He won't come.

The knot in my stomach unfurls and recoils with every twist and turn of my mind. I could ask Autumn about Tyler, but she's lost in memories. Today is two years since the accident. She refuses to share her grief with me-or anyone. Even when she smiles, she isn't the girl she used to be.

And I miss her.

Some days, when she thinks no one is watching, she still moves across the floor as if she's flying. La golondrina, Mamá used to call her. The swallow. All grace and beauty. When Autumn dances, all her worry falls away and she shines.

I wish she could dance forever.

Madre de Dios, how I wish I could watch her dance forever.

Instead, it is another Monday. Life goes on. The assembly is over, and Autumn holds herself ramrod straight. I'm the only one who knows she'll fly out of this cage and leave us all behind as soon as she can.

Meanwhile, next period is the last review for my AP U.S. History midterm, and I haven't even touched my books. Mamá had another one of her bad spells over break. We were supposed to go into town together last Saturday, but when Abuelo brought the car around, she barely recognized him. She didn't want to leave the house. She didn't understand where we were going. I sat with her for hours, talked to her-listen, Mamá-told her the stories that wove our family around her. She was disoriented for days afterward, and I can't shake the feeling that with every day that passes, she slips away like starlight at dawn.

At least history suits me. You already know if those stories will end happily.

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This Is Where It Ends 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books cover caught my eye while browsing through New Teen Fiction. Once I read the overview I knew I had to purchase. This novel had me flipping the pages, kept my heart racing, and I could not put it down until I finished it. Well written, and not for the faint of heart! One of the best reads I have had in a LONG time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most amazing and heart-touching books I've ever read. So sad and terrifying, yet somehow inspirational and relatable. This Is Where It Ends is beyond just the action and horror, it siezes up your heart and sends tears to your eyes. Great way to make you really rethink the common phrase, "That could never happen here!" Tip: Re-think your safety.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get your tissue boxes because this book is about to take you on a rollercoaster called "emotions"
zrugg13 More than 1 year ago
The principal at Opportunity High School finished the speech. The students get up to leave the auditorium. The auditorium doors won’t open. They’re locked. Someone starts shooting. People look up to find a former classmate standing with a gun. In this book, I think the author’s purpose is that you can’t always trust the ones you love, even if you think they are the ones that will save you. “This is Where It Ends” tackles an all-too-frequent situation in American society — that of school shootings. “Tyler is back.” Tyler is out to get the people who hurt him most, but when others get in the way it doesn’t have a good outcome. What finally makes him go crazy? No one knows. Who all will make it out alive? What is Tyler’s secret? Dive in to find out. I think the book matches the authors purpose. It shows what happens when a brother and sister lose the connection and something bad happens. “This Is Where It Ends is a book everyone should read to get a better understanding of each other and the world around us. This book with leave you heartbroken. Read it to find out what happens next.
secretlyaheroine 5 months ago
This book is exquisite, it's all sorts of crippling. It's told in a mostly linear way, but each event switches back and forth between the pov of an important person to the scene. Fair warning, be prepared to cry, be prepared to be shattered. This book is well worth it, but it's not for the faint of heart. If school shootings are something that you can't handle, then you might want to find another book, though this one is extremely moving and handles such a sensitive issue in a wonderful way.
Angie Robin More than 1 year ago
The first major chance I would make to this book would be to include more of Tyler’s perspective. We get pieces of why people thought he decided to bring a gun to school, but we do not hear from him exactly. We know that he had a hard time with family and peers and those relationships. But, did he consistently interpret those things as negative? His home life in particular, did he minimize the actions of his father with an understanding he just had maladaptive coping mechanisms after the death of his wife? In addition, I would include the perspective of a teacher at the school. It would be good to understand the perspective of a person who could have been able to see warning signs in his behaviors, academic performance, and even his expressions though writing. I would also include how a teacher or educator changed their perspective in their teaching and mentorship to their students amongst the aftermath of the event. Children spend a lot of time with their teacher and establish special bonds that may allow them to be more open with them than with their parents. It’s important to understand changes teachers can make and their role in the prevention of acts of violence like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hands down one of the best books I have read! If this book becomes a movie I will support it hole heartedly because of my passion for the story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a bit of a book snob. I can be really picky. This book was tragic and beautiful and had the best and worst of humanity in it. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. You will rethink the way you treat others, and you will hold your loved ones a little closer; because the truth it you never know what could happen. I don't even know what else to say. This book is one of my favorites and the best book I've read in a long long time. You will cry.
Dianne57 More than 1 year ago
While I was reading this book, I had to constantly remind myself that this book was written for teens not adults. The premise was horrific and timely; although with Sandy Hook (among other school shootings) I think it may have been a bit on the tacky side. However, like adults, younger teens like to hear gory details about things. This book will fit the bill for them quite nicely. For young adults and adults -not so much. Frankly though the cast of character's were interesting, the mindset and emotional aspects of them all seemed to ring false to me. But again, I have to keep reminding myself that these characters are not adults and would not have older adult thoughts, ideas and emotions. I would have thought that the will to live would have been too strong for these kids to do what they had done. What is very interesting is that this is also a look into bullying and it bears asking just who in this scenario was the true bully? No I did NOT like this book one little bit, but I can see how it will appeal to the younger crowd and perhaps those with young teens in the home. I would strongly advise any parent to read this book first before giving it to anyone under the age of 13
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is now my favorite book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never wrote a review but I feel as if I have to for this book. I picked up this book because I found the cover to be beautiful and after reading the overview, I had no choice but to buy it. It is a fast pace, simply breathtaking novel that leaves you broken in the end. I had been having trouble picking up books lately but as soon as I began this one, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this to anyone even if YA fiction because it hits so close to home with recent events happening all around us.
MamaHendo More than 1 year ago
As the all school assembly ends in the auditorium the student body begin to slowly make their way towards the doors only to find every exit locked. As confusion begins to pass like a wave through the room one of the doors opens and a singular figure fills the frame. Tyler, who would have been a senior if he hadn't dropped out, has returned and by his side is a gun. What happens next in less than an hour at Opportunity High School is both terrifying and filled with stomach-knotting intensity. Told through four different students perspectives you are brought on an all too realistic roller coaster in "This Is Where It Ends". Reader, you will need to set yourself aside some time before opening this book because this isn't one you will be able to put down without finishing. "This Is Where It Ends" can be found in the YA section and is written to capture the attention of a teen audience. I would highly suggest that parents read this book first or along with their teen who is interested in this title. There are some graphic scenes and themes that may need to be discussed with your young teens. Reading concurrently could also provide and open up a conversation about school and personal safety. I would not recommend this for readers under high school age.
17-year-oldstudent More than 1 year ago
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a thrilling horror story of a high school shooting. The story is told through the eyes of four students at Opportunity Highschool, Claire, Sylv, Tomas, and Autumn. Through the four different perspectives, you witness fifty-five atrocious minutes where a former student, Tyler Browne, seeks revenge on Opportunity. Our four main characters tell their stories through the three to five-minute section chapters and through backstories that tell the potential causes of the horrific shooting. Nijkamp attempted to pull off telling a story on such a timid and harsh topic, and personally, I do not believe that she pulled it off well. This book was extremely back and white, it ignores any sort of deeper psychological meaning behind the villain and victims. The villain is evil, the victims are good. It is outright cartoonish. The author had the option to address many, many problems related to school shootings - depression, mental illness, and many psychological issues, yet she flew right over all of that. So many serious topics are mentioned in this book yet none of them are developed or thought twice about. The whole book seems underdeveloped. All the characters, specifically the victims, just seem to blend into each other, their motives are all the same and they make no mistakes. The villain is evil in the story, was evil in his past, and is one of the most static characters I've ever seen in a book, and he's a main character none-the-less. There is no point in the story where they explain why Tyler is this way, what moments in his past affected him this much to pull such a horrible act, they only tell the stories of the victims and how tragic their backstories are. The writing in this book seems so awfully forced, there are three separate romances in the story which seem extremely out of place in a story about a school shooting. I wouldn't have been annoyed by them if they were done tastefully, but they were so forced into the story that it was aggravating to read about. I believe that Marieke Nijkamp had the opportunity to make this a serious story that addressed such a major issue in the American school system, but she was not successful. Overall I would not recommend this book unless you enjoy reading stories that are static and drawn-out.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I hate the fact that we live in a world where school shootings happen. I have mixed feelings about the fact that a book like this even exists because I don't want to use a tragedy as entertainment. I have had a review copy of this book for years but never got around to it. My daughter actually encouraged me to read this book because she thought it was well done. I didn't grow up in a world where school shootings happened with alarming regularity but my daughter has and it is something that she thinks about. I found this to be an engaging story and a really quick read. This book is told from multiple points of view while a school shooting is taking place. We see what is going on in the locked auditorium and outside of it as well. This is a tragic story filled with needless death but there is also a bit of hope and a few individuals that prove to be heroes. This book doesn't really get too deep into why the shooting happened but I can't think of a good reason or one that would make sense so I am okay with the decision to focus on the students fighting to survive. The story did have a few problems. Students do call 911 as things start and the police in this little town must have been out having a few doughnuts because it takes them forever to actually get to the school. I had some pretty big issues with that delayed response and I think it made the story very unrealistic. I also never felt like we got to know any of the characters very well. I didn't want any of them to die but I wasn't particularly emotional when it happened either. I did really like the fact that this audiobook was narrated by a full cast. Each point of view had its own narrator which made it very easy to keep track of who the focus was on. I thought that each narrator did a fantastic job with the story. I know that I liked this book a lot more because I decided to listen to the audiobook. I would recommend this book to others. I thought it was a well-told story despite having a few issues. I wouldn't hesitate to read more of this author's work in the future. I received a digital review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was walking through the store when I saw this book. From the description it already had me hooked, i was so glad that there was lgbtq+ representation. This book is so good but also heartbreaking. I got the edition with the extra chapter, and jay and kevin made me cry so hard. Its so sad! Marie is an excellent but evil writer. I wish there was a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Needs to be a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Puts you as close to being there as possible. What they thought, how brave they can be and how life can change so suddenly.
Countryliving More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a very emotional book and even though the book is written from views of teenagers I thought it was very well done. I'm in my 40s and the book overall held my interest. I thought the author did a wonderful job at taking the everyday ups and downs that teenagers deal with and created a great but sad story. Unfortunately this type of tragedy happens all too often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of my favorite books I have ever read in my entire life. I started to cry in class as I was reading actually haha. It has a great plot and is defiantly worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just have to remind myself that this is YA fiction and not classic literature. The emotions are going to be over the top and the platitudes are going to be plentiful. The premise was promising, but the product was one big ABC Afterschool Special. Anyone else remember those gems "Schoolboy Father" and "She Drinks a Little"? I guess we could call this one "A Scary Day at School."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It told me a story of hope, sadness, and faith. This story was so amazing. The only thing I wish the author would have added was some insight on what was going through the shooters mind while he hit Autumn, shot her, or right before he killed himself but overall it was an amazing book everyone should read to understand situations like this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is book is truly amazing!!!! I love how it relates to real world conflicts and issues
KieraM More than 1 year ago
Fantastic, this novel is the epitome of every high school students worst nightmare. A beautiful portrayal of how anyone could become a school shooter, and the impact of having a connection with the shooter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a book that actually made me cry. Highly recommend
Jojo Swanson More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down after the moment I opened it. It was absolutely amazing. I completely recommend it!