Book Review #59: this is where it ends

I was really excited for this book. As a teacher, the subject matter–school shootings–is one that hits so close to home. Every day, I go into work, fully committed to throw myself in front of a bullet for those children inside my classroom, my building. I’ve had to train children on where to hide inside my classroom, what we do if there’s someone with a weapon in the building, where we run to if we’re forced to evacuate. It’s nightmarish, and it’s absolutely necessary in this unfortunate climate.

So maybe my sights were set a little too high. Maybe I expected too much.

First of all, the story itself is… engaging. I don’t want to say “good” because there’s nothing “good” about school shootings. But the format did suck me in within a matter of pages and keep my attention for the entirety of the book. Told from five different POVs in the course of 54 minutes, it has you jumping from one person’s head to another very quickly. While it’s impossible to “enjoy” the storyline, it’s still an engaging read.

That being said–I think this book is missing something. I know it’s written for teenagers, for young adults, but I believe crucial POVs are missing. More than anything, I needed to see what the teachers were going through. Trapped in the auditorium, they couldn’t exactly follow the lock down procedures. So, what were they thinking? But we’ll never know. Because instead, we get the POV of a kid whose brother is in the auditorium? I could have easily done without Claire and with a teacher instead.

I also really wanted to see a POV from the shooter’s–Tyler–eyes. We get this rather nasty image of him as a one sided villain, and honestly, it falls flat. I wanted to see, again, what the teacher’s thought of this kid who had been basically shut out by everyone around him. I wanted to see the process behind him giving up on everyone and everything. I get why we don’t see that; I understand that some information from Tyler could be used in actual real-life shooter events. BUT it would be enlightening for those readers who actually want a rounded villain. Now just a bad kid who was awful to everyone and went sour on his own accord but a kid who is so broken by the world and his past that he honestly felt like he had no choice.

Overall, a decent read, but I won’t be recommending it.

Final Ratings
Overall Rating: 3 / 5
Pacing: Very fast paced.
Intended Audience: Young adults.
Content Warnings: Mental health, sexual assault, intense violence, death, abuse, homophobia (and more and more and more)
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