Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [This Is Where It Ends]

18 May

So. I called the unpleasant ~surprise of this one pretty early on, and part of me wishes it hadn’t been there because it could have been avoided, but given the cast of characters and what they were capable of it made sense. I didn’t like it, but it made sense. My only real complaint is that it wasn’t fully dealt with, that is, it didn’t have all of the effects it could have and went largely unknown by most of the cast, and that’s something I also get but I kind of wish it had been different. But oh well.

Overall, this was a good book. I wanted to get that first bit out of the way, but it wasn’t enough to seriously detract from my enjoyment of the story. Enjoyment is the wrong word when you’re talking about a book that deals with school shootings and all sorts of auxiliary terrible things, but still. Whatever the equivalent. I’m glad I read it, and it was an important and interesting story.

Because even for the thing I was vaguely referring to in the first paragraph, or the fact that it’s about a school shooting, or the auxiliary terrible things that happen surrounding the events of the actual story (told in real-time, as it were, with shifting POVs and social media interjections – an effective way of keeping up the intensity and breathlessness and frantic pace of what was going on) the thing is… yes. All of that is bad. But it happens. It happens, and people still have to face those things, and it’s ultimately a story not about those things but about how they shape people and how people fight through and heal. And that’s what matters most, I think.

There are parts that were a little uneven, I think; a lot of the stuff with Claire, the track star-slash-shooter’s ex, didn’t feel entirely developed, like you’d gone from a to c without fully explaining b, and some of the drama between the Sylv and Autumn, or Sylv and Tomas, went in vague circles. (Also, it’s none of my business but what is it with characters in these YA books going by nicknames that awkwardly chop their two-syllable name into one syllable that ends with a v. Far From You had Trev, which made me angry. Sylv is a little better, but – I don’t know, it just feels abrupt. This is a weird etymological pet peeve of mine I guess. It’s not a flaw in the writing. Just my brain being odd.)

But ultimately, the pacing is really unique and the subject matter is important and Sylv and Autumn are very good Sapphic girls and I just wanted them to be happy. And Claire’s heterosexuality wasn’t even particularly cringeworthy, so good job, Marieke Nijkamp. (Sidenote: I also adore your first name, Marieke Nijkamp. That’s just really pretty.)

–your fangirl heroine.

underestimate20the20girl

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