Escape Room by Maren Stoffels
Publication Date : July 7th 2020
Publisher : Random House Children’s
Genre : YA / Teen / Thriller
Pages : 224
There’s no escape from this room. Full of menace and suspense, it’s an unputdownable thriller–and a paperback original!
Alissa, Sky, Cleo, and Miles just wanted something to do on a Friday night, so they signed up for an Escape Room. They have one hour to find clues, crack codes, and figure out puzzles. The Game Master told them they can always leave the game. But what if that’s not true? What if the Game Master has no intention of letting them out?
** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Escape Room was interesting teen thriller that revolved four friends and the escape room game they signed up going wrong. It was about revenge, mental illness, self-discovery, self-esteem issue, and friendship.
Writing was gripping, super easy, to the point. There was plot fillers or lengthy character or setting description, which made it quick read. I finished this book in few hours. It was multiple first person narrative from alternative POV of Sky, Mint, Julie, Miles, and ‘x’. Each narration gave different view point on each character that helped in understanding them better. X’s narration was poetic and interesting to read, it was creepy and gave supernatural feel.
X’s identity was revealed too early. As soon as they reached the place where the escape Room was organised, we Know who was the X but the reason why X was out for revenge was revealed at climax. We also know who from four friend was not right and was hiding something and could be as dangerous as X pretty early in the book but why that friend was accomplices was again revealed along with the motive.
This isn’t a horror or there isn’t anything scary or supernatural element. This is character driven, psychological thriller with interesting setting of escape game, lots of secrets, deception, and puzzles. All characters were complex and flawed. Mint and Sky were my most favourite of all.
Mint was timid, protective, caring. She stayed in the shadow of Alissa, with self-esteem issues. She had unique ability to feel other people’s pain but never shared it in fear of being called crazier they what people already believed. It was easy to empathize with her. The escape room transformed her into brave, smart, and confident person who no longer lived in shadow of Alissa but it also affected her at the same time. Her actions and reactions were realistic.
Sky was direct, strong and brave one but behind that front face he was sensitive and kept a secret he never shared with anyone. That secret was surprising but the way he handled it was great. He saw his friends’ view changing that hurt him even more than what he lost in revealing it and yet he helped each friend. He was best person of all.
Alissa was most beautiful who never had problem in making friends or getting boyfriend. Things came easily to her at school but at home things weren’t as rosy. Her father was firefighter and was suffering from PTSD. It had been hard and trying for her and her little sister. I found her self-centred and she behaved like everything revolves around her, maybe not knowingly, but she made others feels that way. Her reaction with her dad was horrible and It was unbelievable she fell for Miles so easily and instantly. Just because Miles asked questions or discussed things that Mint or Sky never did, she started trusting Miles more than her friends! She was moat naïve and weak among four.
Miles was mysterious. From the beginning we know there was something off about him, he was hiding his true self and was lying to everyone around him. His actions and reactions were questionable and I didn’t trust him. But one thing was clear, he really cared for Alissa even after his veil of mystery was lifted.
X was crazy. His/her motive was questionable and I can’t believe x was taking revenge based on something that wasn’t anybody’s fault. I don’t feel anything for ‘x’ even though what happened to him/her was sad and terrible.
I liked the elements of mental illness, PTSD, self-esteem issue, teen angst along with LGTBQ. I enjoyed how friendship was tested throughout the book. Twist and turns were good. Some were predictable while some were surprising. Climax was most interesting. Though motive was unconvincing, I really felt for all characters specially for Miles. End was good and I liked how things were wrapped up in the end with character growth.
Why 3.5 stars-
Like I said it was easy to figure out who was the bad person and identity was revealed too early. I wish the book was a bit longer and both plot and characters had little more depth.
I still don’t understand Mint’s parents specially her mother and why she was always panicky or why Mint built up walls around her and felt she wasn’t beautiful enough or nobody find her interesting. I wanted more for Miles or at least a chance for him.
Overall, Escape Room was interesting, short and quick teen/YA thriller. It was like those books that you go along with, is no- brainer, and somewhat predictable but you still enjoy it.
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