EXCLUSIVE: The feature film rights to Marieke Nijkamp’s bestselling YA novel This Is Where It Ends from Sourcebooks have just been optioned by The Gotham Group, the producers behind the YA sensation The Maze Runner franchise. Director/producer Lysa Heslov (Served Like A Girl) has been attached to direct.

This Is Where It Ends has been a New York Times No. 1 bestseller and spent more than 67 weeks on that venerable list.

The novel tells the story of an Alabama high school student armed with a gun who takes his schoolmates hostage in a locked auditorium. Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

“In writing This Is Where It Ends Marieke Nijkamp gave rise to what is unfortunately a very real and relevant issue. In doing so, she also created a safe space for teens and adults to discuss gun violence, bullying, and the many faces of love,” said Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks CEO and publisher. “I’m so grateful to The Gotham Group and Lysa Heslov for seeing the significance of this story and helping it reach an even larger audience.”

Heslov’s last outing, Served Like A Girl, is an award-winning 2017 documentary feature that follows a group of female veterans as they compete for the crown of Ms. Veteran America to raise awareness for homeless vets. (It received a big 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).

Photo courtesy of Lysa Heslov

Heslov directed, co-produced and co-wrote the film with Tchavdar Georgiev. The film won numerous awards and was a finalist for Jury Awards at SXSX. After premiering at SXSX, Served Like A Girl was sold to Entertainment Studios, and PBS’s Independent Lens.

Prior to Served Like A Girl, Heslov produced the award-winning film Black Circle Boys, and the short films Mailman (with Sandra Bullock) and Hank Azaria’s Nobody’s Perfect, all of which premiered at Sundance.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eddie Gamarra at Gotham,” said Heslov. “When I read This Is Where It Ends, I knew immediately it was a timely and immensely important piece. I feel passionately that this is a story that desperately needs to be told … and I am so excited to dig in.”

Gotham is one of the most active companies in town that consistently acquires smart, literary material to bring to the screen. It recently optioned film rights to Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game, which debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list as well as Janelle Brown’s critically acclaimed suspense thriller Watch Me Disappear, and Robyn Harding’s bestseller The Party. Gotham is also producing Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 horror novels.

Heslov is repped by CAA and Marieke Nijkamp by Jennifer Udden at Barry Goldblatt Literary.