Sunday, February 7, 2016

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

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. Sourcebooks, 2016. Recommended for ages 14-18.

10:00 a.m.

The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester ...

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."    
(Sourcebooks FIre).

In a powerful story that drives home the horror and tragedy of recent mass shootings, an angry and disturbed student returns to his small high school, with a plan for revenge ... and a gun.  During the principal’s welcoming speech, with nearly the entire school in attendance, he locks the auditorium doors and beginnings shooting. Horrified students struggle to hide or escape. Meanwhile, outside the auditorium, several students excused (or skipped) from the meeting, hear the shots, contact authorities, and heroically begin a daring rescue attempt. 

Although the entire event takes place in less than an hour, four narrators, whose lives are deeply and tragically intertwined to the shooter, flashback to events that trace his escalating anger and give readers insight into the events that led to the shooting. Whispered cell phone calls and heartbreaking tweets from inside the auditorium add to the story’s drama and suspense. Rescue attempts by tow of the the school's less ideal students begin to pay off and gradually, some inside the auditorium realize that there is something they can do to change their situation.

Nijkamp has written a suspenseful novel peopled with diverse characters realistically grappling with the many issues that teens face in contemporary schools.

Visit Nijkamp's website for more information about her and find a discussion guide for this book and vIsit Sourcebooks  to read an excerpt.

A Winter 2015-2016 Kids Indie Next List pick.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for letting me read an advance reader copy through NetGalley.

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