Marikene Nijkamp This Is Where It Ends is an intense read about a school shooting. The cover is brilliant with the bullet cutting through colorful chalk. Everyone has a reason to be afraid of Tyler Browne. He planned a massacre at his school on the day he re-enrolled. He dropped out for a short time after going off the rails after his mother is killed in a car accident. The story is told in several points of view, his sister Autumn, Autumn’s secret girlfriend Sylv, Sylv’s brother Tomas and Tyler’s ex-girlfriend Claire. The story is also told in texts from other students and blog postings by the daughter of a teacher. Each give background while the story is unfolding. The entire book takes place in at the span of an hour. It is not for sensitive readers. This book is harsh and shows the mind of a killer who feels the world has turned on him and isn’t remorseful for taking revenge and killing innocent students. I received an ARC from Edelweiss. This book comes out in January. It is a well written story about something that could happen anywhere if the wrong person has a gun and enough hate in their heart.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
How do you think Tyler’s life would be different if his mother was still alive? Or would he have reached the same end?
Discuss the line “Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.”
Why do you think he was so kind when he was dating Claire and then was capable of this?
Why do you think Tyler betrayed his sister to their father when he showed him her ballet slippers and what he ultimately did to Autumn when he seemed like such a caring big brother?
Do you think Tomas helped or hurt Autumn’s situation?
Discuss this passage, “We are not better because we survived. We are not brighter or more deserving. We are not stronger. But we are here, and this day will never leave us. Nor should it. We will remember the wounded. We will remember the lost. There will be many tomorrows; there’ll be thousands of them. So let’s make them good ones.”
Discuss Mr. Jameson’s tradition with the seniors where they used lanterns and had a bonfire.
Discuss the ending of the book with Sylv “I take a deep breath and caress the rice paper between thumb and finger. And I let go.”