This Is How It Ends is an enticing and alluring book, written by Jen Nadol.
Riley and his friends decide they should spend a night in the forest before returning back to confines of school and homework for their senior year. An ordinary night of talking, drinking a few beers and playing Truth or Dare quickly turns sinister when the group finds a mysterious pair of binoculars buried deep in a cave. Those who were brave enough to look through the binoculars saw strange visions, which they brushed off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley have seen visions of himself in bed with his best friend’s girlfriend – a girl he’s had a secret crush on for years?
In the weeks that follow the discovery of the strange binoculars, the visions begin to come true… one of which includes a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. In this small town, who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through the binoculars? Will they be powerless to change the course of events? And what does this mean for Riley and what he saw in the binoculars?
I quite liked reading This Is How It Ends. The paranormal aspect of this book was really interesting and I loved finding out more about this as the book progressed. I didn’t know this book was going to be paranormal, so it was great to see how that all played out. One of my favourite parts of this book is the fact that everyone has secrets that they don’t want everyone to find out. I liked learning these secrets and seeing how the secrets affected everyone around them, not just themselves. However, I found this book a little bit slow in parts. This isn’t really a fast paced book and I didn’t find myself glued to the pages for the most part. But I did find myself guessing how this book would end. The ending, however, wasn’t very spectacular. I was hoping this book would go out with more of a bang. I was disappointed to find that the ending of this book wasn’t really worth the time of reading the book. Sadly, I think this is going to be one of those books I read once and never think about again. I would have liked to feel more attached to the characters and to the storyline. The beginning of this book was really alluring, but I felt as though I became less intrigued as the book progressed.
I didn’t dislike the characters; I just didn’t love them. There’s a big difference between having tolerable characters and characters people like spending time with. The only scenes where I liked watching the interaction between characters were the scenes between Riley and Sarah. These scenes were interesting because of the love triangle in the story. I’ve always had mixed feelings about love triangles, but this one didn’t seem too cheesy, so I’m going to say I like it. I wasn’t torn between the two characters and I didn’t feel particularly strongly about the character being with one person or another, but it didn’t make me cringe like some love triangles do. In saying that, the thing I liked most about the characters in this book is that they are all very complex people and not at all one-dimensional. There’s more to each character than initially meets the eye and I liked discovering things about each person. The fact that these people were all different and complex didn’t change the fact that I didn’t love most of them. They were all right, to put it simply. They weren’t anything special in my mind though.
I quite liked learning more about the adults in this book. They were all incredibly unique and surprisingly interesting to get to know. They were all flawed and all had their problems. It was good to see the interaction between the parents and their child. I thought the adults in this book were all portrayed really well and that was very refreshing to see. I think that sometimes in YA fiction a lot of the adults get overlooked because most of the action is focussed around the teen characters. A lot of the time, parents don’t play a major role in these types of books. I think that getting to know these peoples parents gave me more of an insight into why the teenagers acted the way they did in certain situations what drove and motivated them.
Some things that I would have liked to have seen more of in this book is suspense. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat reading this book and I wished this book were faster paced in a lot of parts. This book could have moved a lot more quickly without the worry of it becoming confusing at all. Another thing I would have liked to see more of is darkness. Judging from the blurb, I thought this book was going to be a lot more dark, deep and mysterious. I felt as though I was let down in these areas and this book could have benefited from having more of all three of those. One part of this book that I also liked was the description of the town all the characters lived in. I really felt the small town atmosphere and how everyone knew everyone. I liked seeing how rumours could be circulated around this little town and how what people said couldn’t be trusted completely.
Overall, there were aspects of this book that I really liked. The writing style was pretty good for the book, I just would have loved it if this book was more fast-paced and if it had more mystery and more elements of darkness. I don’t think I’ll be rereading this book in a hurry and I don’t think you should rush out and buy this book, but it was an okay book to read. I’d give This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol a score of 6.5 out of 10. This is the type of book I’d recommend reading when you’re bored and don’t have much else to read.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.