This is How it Ends
Author: Jen Nadol
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
If you could see the future, would you want to? After the disturbing visions Riley and his friends see turn out to be more than hallucinations, fate takes a dangerous twist in this dark and suspenseful page-turner.
Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see 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 visions begin to come true...including a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?
I wanted This is How it Ends to be something different, and it certainly had the elements to make it something different, it was right there. But the part that would've made it different was on the backburner and paved its way to drama instead.Now, the element of the binoculars and what the represented would've been great, if it went into it more. Which, you'd think it would, but in fact, they only made a brief appearance in the beginning and was a while again before they were used. More talked about than anything, but nothing really helpful, everytime it was brought up it felt like we were walking in circles. I thought it would integrate into the story a lot better than it did, we spend the whole book wondering what the hell they really are, what they can do, if anything of it is real. We have some hints along the way, but nothing you'd really pick up on, and by the time you got to the big revelation it just felt rushed and fell flat. It didn't seem plausible because you didn't get a chance to really understand. The whole thing felt long-winded into the build up, and just didn't live up to it.
The characters weren't half bad, we're focused on five, but we're in Riley's head, and a lot of the time I hate male perspectives, mainly because most of the time they always come off cheesy. Riley wasn't, though there were a few cringe-y moments, but it was nice to be in the underdogs view for a change, even if it's a little clichéd with the whole in-love-with-best-friends-girlfriend. The best friend in that equation? To put in bluntly, is a dick. It did focus more on that love triangle that while we do have the other two characters, Tannis and Natalie, but they didn't seem all that well rounded. But I did like them, just would've liked something a little more with them. As you'd expect with Riley liking Sarah, there isn't much romance going on, which for that I'm grateful for, not because of the cheating thing (though it is bad, but who are we to judge if you haven't been placed in that situation? That's shown perfectly in This is How it Ends) But because I was expecting it to go one way with another character, and the whole dating-another-to-make-her-jealous route, and it didn't. Which, you know, wow, a guy who knows who he wants and only wants.
Now, we get to the good stuff. Murder! I found it a little unbelievable with the police and having kids doing their job. That is addressed, in a few different ways and explanations, and maybe it's because I'm not from a small town? It just didn't sit well with me. Though, the dead guy deserved it, so whatever. What I absolutely loved about This is How it Ends though is the way it makes you think. Knowing the future, does it change it. Is it already set in stone, or is it the fact that you've seen it, make it happen? It's one of those that if you think about it too long it'll make your brain hurt and a little scared because so many possibilities.
This is How it Ends was an average read for me, with a unique concept that didn't quite deliver, characters while not completely flat, weren't all rounded either but was an easy read, and I couldn't put it down.