Thursday, 6 October 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends

This Is Where It Ends This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This review will contain spoilers. You have been warned!

This was...fine.
This book is told from the point of view of 4 highschool students who endure a school shooting. Some characters were likable, some weren't.
I liked Tomas, and Sylvia, Autumn at least had issues and I wanted Claire to die in a dumpster fire.

Reading some reviews before I finished the book, there's a lot of criticism on the shooter's motivation. How "he was just evil" and I don't see that. He was grieving his mother, he was feeling abandoned by his sister who had big dreams, he was beaten by an alcoholic father, he was bullied, his locker was set on fire, his girlfriend dumped him. He was angry, sad, lost, rageful. He wasn't evil, he was neglected and abandoned. He could have gotten help but no one was listening.

So, here are the problems I had with this book.
Other than making the Spanish characters randomly speak Spanish so we know they're Spanish, everyone spoke the same. Everyone. And to that point, nobody cursed. They're teenagers, in the middle of a shooting, and not one swear word. Someone actually says "That scared the daylights out of me." No. No, now is the time for a 'Shit'. It scared the shit out of you.

Let's break this down by character now.

Tomas
He was fine. No real gripes about him. Probably one of the better characters. A shame we never got to see his crowning moment of awesome before he died. He deserved that.

Sylvia
I liked her. Honestly I thought she and Fareed had more chemistry than she and Autumn. Heck, she had more chemistry with her brother, which is troubling.

Autumn
She was fine. I felt for her, even if her situation's climax was obvious from a mile away. Of course she was going to get shot in the knee. Or the back. Or something. Also, her last few paragraphs bugged me. Your brother killed a bunch of people, died, your dad beats the crap out of you and your brother took away your dreams probably. But it's ok because you have your high-school girlfriend by your side? You know that love isn't gonna last, right? Autumn isn't going to be content staying in that town, maybe she'll even resent Sylv because Sylv was one of the triggers that drove her brother to his extremes. Stupid and delusional.

Clair.
Here we go. Let's talk about Claire. Her's was my absolute least favourite thread. Claire's, the shooter's ex, on the track team so she misses the assembly. Her and her BFF/Future lover Chris try to run toward town, never make it, are picked up by the cops, can do jack-all, then help the grieving. Also her disabled brother dies in the shooting.

Her Run Forest, Run! plot does NOTHING! It contributes NOTHING! Yes, she finds the security guard shot but what did running down the road, then tripping twice while reminiscing about your family achieve? And then when the cop drops her off back to the school she asks other track members who called the cops, only to find out it was someone inside the school. So that was totally useless.

I get it. The author probably wanted to show how completely helpless Claire was. Then, why not...just...pace and show how helpless she is? Or go find the security guard, because that's a good idea, only to find that he's dead. Worry about your disabled brother. SOMETHING!

And then, near the end she finds romance with Chris. Then her brother dies. And she's all "I don't want to be alone anymore..."

Sweetheart you have parents that love you, a whole track team, a sister who's in the army but still loves you and might not die and a brother who, up until his death, thought you hung the moon. Versus other characters who have been beaten, abused, raped, dead parents, or losing family members to Alzheimers. But please, go on about how alone you are.

I was hoping this would be better than Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes and I'm not sure it was. It probably wasn't. Maybe the subject matter is just too difficult to get right.

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Review: FAB

FAB FAB by Mark Gillespie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun little "What if?"
Cute little potshots at history and culture.
Predictable ending but I'm interested in part 2.
Needed more Charles Manson.

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