October 7, 2014
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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?
Jen Nadol's new release, This Is How It Ends, is a fun and - like the synopsis says - suspenseful read. Though it sounds like a paranormal read, with being able to look through some strange binoculars and see the future, it is less paranormal and more psychological. It felt more reminiscent of "The Monkey's Paw" than anything else.
The difference in tone, genre were actually quite a pleasant surprise for me. I enjoyed This Is How It Ends and its unknown genre - was it paranormal, was it more contemporary and all in their heads, was it a combination of the two. Though it deals less with the characters' mental state, fans The Half Life of Molly Pierce or Six Months Later should definitely pick up This Is How It Ends.
Centered around a core group of friends, five high school seniors has a great premise. Are those binoculars really showing them the future? And if they are, can anything be done about it? Should it?
Riley, Trip, Sarah, Tannis and Natalie are a really good group to have the story revolve around. They have their secrets (Riley's crush on Trip's girlfriend Sarah), they have their stressors (fractured family relationships, post high school plans, money troubles), some of which are kept from the others and they're different and unique characters. It's nice that they are different 'types' of students and characters - nerds, jocks, etc - but their friendship still makes sense.
Friendship that may be called into question after the binoculars and what they each see .
We get a glimpse into their friendship and how they all interact with each other prior to everything starting to happen. It gives a good foundation for everyone's relationships and really allows the changes to be seen.
The characters, their past - as a whole and individually - along with a really well done small town setting, present the perfect backdrop for all of the questions This Is How It Ends poses. I'm not sure how I felt about the characters at the end of the book. Or what I thought of what the ending presented of their future. I am sure that I love that it made - is making - me think, both about those characters and where they're headed, but also about the idea of possibly seeing your future. And what that could, would mean.
received for review from the publisher through Edelweiss