This Is Where It Ends-Marieke Nijkamp | Summary, Synopsis, Themes & Characters

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TitleThis Is Where It Ends
AuthorMarieke Nijkamp
Publication Year2016
GenreYoung Adult Fiction, Contemporary
SettingOpportunity High School, a small town in the United States
No of pages288

This Is Where It Ends Main Characters

  • Autumn Brown – A senior at Opportunity High School
  • Sylv Fletcher – Autumn’s younger brother
  • Claire Casey – Sylv’s ex-girlfriend and Autumn’s best friend
  • Tomás Fernandez – A student with a troubled past

This Is Where It Ends Themes

  • Bullying
  • Friendship
  • Grief and loss
  • Coming of age

This Is Where It Ends Synopsis

“This Is Where It Ends” is a gripping novel written by Marieke Nijkamp. Set in the small town of Opportunity, it takes place over the course of 54 terrifying minutes.

The story begins with a high school assembly ready to begin but the principal is nowhere to be seen.

When the school is shut down, locking children and teachers inside, it is clear that something is really wrong.

Four students—Tomas, Autumn, Sylv and Claire—find themselves caught in a nightmare as they try to survive a shooting spree carried out by a former student named Tyler.

As the tragedy unfolds, the narrative shifts between multiple perspectives, revealing the personal stories and struggles of those affected.

As the individuals are forced to confront their own pasts and make decisions that might decide their survival, desperation, terror and courage intertwine.

This Is Where It Ends Summary

Marieke Nijkamp wrote the 2016 young adult novel This Is Where It Ends. Tyler Browne locks pupils inside the auditorium & commits a school shooting that kills 39 people as Principal Trenton ends the annual first-day-of-spring-semester speech at Alabama’s Opportunity High School. This Is Where It Ends is told in four separate first-person stories by seniors Autumn, Sylv, Tomas & Claire and spans the fifty-five minutes from 10:00 to 10:55 a.m.

Autumn’s brother, the gunman & her lover, Sylv, become trapped in the theatre. At the same time, Tomas and Fareed hear gunshots while breaking into Principal Trenton’s office to snoop through Tyler Browne’s documents. Claire is safe outdoors during track practise when the shooting occurs. By the end of the day, Autumn and Sylv had both confronted Tyler onstage. As Tomas and Tyler complete the day amid the dead, Tomas approaches Tyler in the corridor.

Nijkamp analyses each narrator’s relationship with Tyler as the novel unfolds, presenting a portrayal of a terrible occurrence that transcends beyond the bounds of these tumultuous moments and serves as reflection on wider social issues, such as familial tragedy. The story delves into how, in the year preceding the shooting, the Browne family fractures in the aftermath of Tyler’s mother’s death. Tyler’s relationship with his sister Autumn suffers as a result of Tyler’s attack on Autumn’s partner Sylv on the night of the junior prom around a year before the shooting. Claire had broken up with Tyler earlier that night.

The following day at school, Tomas ties Tyler to a locker & Tyler drops out of Opportunity High School. This Is Where It Ends looks at how these previous events lead to disaster. Claire’s knowledge changes as a result of the events of the day. She realises towards the end of This Is Where It Ends how important the entire town has been in developing not just her own life, but also how circumstances seemingly unrelated to the school massacre give insight into Tyler’s motivation. Claire recognises that everyone in the community has an impact on others.

The 26 chapters, including the epilogue, are divided into three- to two-minute & occasionally one-minute, episodes. Furthermore, each chapter finishes with either tweets from students and community members or a blog post by Mei, a student who skipped school on the day of the massacre. Nijkamp’s narrative method of breaking chapters down into tiny moments allows her to halt time and study each narrator’s inner environment. The majority of the work is devoted to the events leading up to the day’s terrible incident, demonstrating how profoundly the past influences the present. The story examines how understanding a catastrophic occurrence requires looking at the tragedy from several angles.

Autumn’s hopes of studying dance at Juilliard, she aspires to be a famous ballerina like her mother & Sylv’s difficulty with already getting admitted to Brown University are explored in the narrative, as is Tyler’s connection with others. In this sense, This Is Where It Ends is a humanistic novel that delves into the various levels of struggle and grief that drive an individual to exact revenge on a whole student body & consequently an entire community. It is a book about human love, connections & violence. 

As the hour progresses, Nijkamp creates tension, compelling each narrator to determine how to respond in the face of horror. Autumn & Sylv confront Tyler and manage to escape. However, when Tomas approaches Tyler in the corridor in the novel’s last pages, the meeting becomes lethal. The novel concludes with an Epilogue that jumps ahead more than a day, to 11:59 p.m. Fareed breaks into the school earlier in the evening, then calls classmates to share information of a memorial ceremony. Students assemble under the moon & sky to light a paper lantern for each student died that day and to call out the student’s name.

This Is Where It Ends Quotes

  • “We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us.”
  • “I didn’t need to die for him to kill me.”
  • “I never realized that courage was so terrifying.”
  • “You can do far more than you ever imagined.”
  • “Together we could be so strong, but the gun has made us individuals.”
  • “It’s easier to know who I’m not than to know who I am. When everyone expects me to fail, it’s easier to give up than to try.”
  • “Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun”
  • “We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us. I have to believe that.”
  • “You have to ask yourself how you can become the best you can be.”
  • “It was the truest thing she said that night, as we both lied to each other.”
  • “The only things that give us purpose are the stories that tie us together. We”
  • “I don’t feel panic or shock. There’s just a sense of defeat. This is it.”
  • “This is how I shape our future.”
  • “One step after another after another. It doesn’t matter what comes next as long as I keep moving forward.”
  • “You can do far more than you ever imagined. If you don’t believe that, at least believe me.”
  • “The only things that give us purpose are the stories that tie us together.”
  • “She refuses to share her grief with me – or anyone. Even when she smiles, she isn’t the girl she used to be.”
Quotes Source:

This Is Where It Ends FAQs

Is This Is Where It Ends Based on a true story?

No, “This Is Where It Ends” is a work of fiction and is not based on a true story.

What is the age rating on the book This Is Where It Ends?

The age rating for the book “This Is Where It Ends” is 18+.

What happens in the end of This Is Where It Ends?

The end of “This Is Where It Ends” sees the shooter committing suicide, bringing an end to the tragic event.

Is there romance in This Is Where It Ends?

No, “This Is Where It Ends” is a young adult novel focused on a school shooting and its aftermath, without a romantic subplot.

Is this is where it ends scary?

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a brutal and terrifying story of a high school shooting.

About the Author-Marieke Nijkamp

Full NameMarieke Nijkamp
BirthdateJanuary 31, 1985
OccupationAuthor, Speaker
Genre(s)Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller
Notable Works“This Is Where It Ends”
EducationBachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Groningen
Twitter Handle@mariekeyn
Goodreads ProfileMarieke Nijkamp on Goodreads

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