ARC Review: This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol

Friday, 17 October 2014

20759561This is How It Ends by Jen Nadol
Released: 7th October 2014
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Mystery
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 320
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
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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
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Unfortunately, This Is How It Ends simply wasn't my cup of tea. Although the premise seemed like it had a lot of potential to create a mysterious YA novel with a slight supernatural twist, in the end I just couldn't connect to the two-dimensional characters and slow pacing. With a love-triangle-esque relationship thrown into the mix and teenagers who made a whole lot of stupid decisions, this book just didn't work for me.

When seventeen year old Riley and his friends Sarah, Trip, Nat and Tannis find a pair of binoculars in a cave which seem to hold visions of their futures, none of them know what to make of it. However, when Riley sees himself with his best friend's girlfriend, it seems that his true feelings about her become even more pronounced. When Nat's father is murdered as the vision predicted, a mystery and race to find the killer soon ensues. As the story progresses, the teens learn more about what could be, and whether that may actually turn into a reality.

I found it quite difficult to connect to Riley's character, especially in the beginning. While he did have a few distinguishable character traits, on the whole I didn't really empathise with him and his situation since I couldn't really see the character development that well. His relationships with his friends were explored to some extent, although I felt that the rest of the secondary characters, with the exception of Sarah, didn't seem to have that much substance. They 'almost love triangle' that occurred with the 'I think I'm in love with my best friend's girlfriend' situation and how it fit into the vision wasn't something I found endearing.

That being said, the murder mystery and secret behind the binoculars at least had some explanation offered. While the pacing was begrudgingly slow for the first half of the novel, by the end some progress had been made into discovering who the real killer was. There were some sub-plots which I found dragged the story on, although the focus on the binoculars seemed to flow through quite well; even if the ending itself for me was anti-climatic.


This Is How It Ends for me had lots of potential, but didn't deliver. Even though personally this book didn't quite hit the mark, I still may consider giving something else by Jen Nadol a try to see how it compares.


  1. This one looks interesting, I suppose, but neither is it high on my TBR list. I know that if I see it in my library I'll pick it up--but yeah, it doesn't really look like my cup of tea either. It's just so frustrating when a book doesn't live up to its potential. :(

    1. Exactly, the good thing about library books is that it's a no-risk way of obtaining books that you may or may not end up liking. It is sad that it didn't work for me, but I suppose everyone interprets a book differently so some people might still like it.


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