I was so excited about this book when I found out about and I can tell you that I really enjoyed reading it. Survival, murder, backstories, a good MC.
I can honestly say that Dawn really felt like a teenager. Haha, this may sound weird, but I have read many YA and sometimes characters just come across as too adult. And yes, there are teens who will be like that, but I would just like more teens act like teens. Worrying about things, struggling with things, having so much anger at times, so much sadness, feeling confused about things, wondering about silly daily things, not having a clue about the future. I loved reading more about Dawn and finding out what happened to her that made her move to a drugdealing boyfriend (or whatever he was…). As the story continues we learn more about her feelings on Cam and her mom (who she called Wendy which just seemed weird to me, I mean I called my mum just mum, I don’t even want to think of calling her by her first name that just feels weird), on her little brother, on what happened to her father and why she feels so guilty about it. At times I really wanted to reach out and give Dawn a hug. I know she probably wouldn’t be too happy about it, but maybe it would help. I am glad that the author told us slowly what was going on in Dawn’s life, it wasn’t BOOM here is everything, oh no, we find out gradually. I loved how strong Dawn was. Many people would probably have given up at the hopelessness of it all, but she kept going on. She struggled and fought. She wanted to reach safety or at least find help. She has to make some very harsh decisions.
I also love that we find out about the other characters, or well, most of them. I would have liked some more backstory on some characters, but in the end it all worked out and we quickly found out about their true personalities. Evan and Brandon were just horrible from the start, but it was interesting to see who totally turned and I can say I hadn’t expected that person to be so cold, so harsh, so murderous.
I am not sure how I feel about this survival camp stuff to get your kid to end up better. I am sorry, but if you read what these kids have to do, then I highly doubt if this is healthy. I can only imagine this may just be a nice topic for a therapist session many years later. And that is when it is just survival. Now it is also murder and death. But back to the whole survival stuff. I just DON’T understand why they didn’t give these kids tents or backpacks from the start or at least showed them some basics. Now these kids were just thrown into the survival and endless walks for weeks and months with only the bare necessities and oh yes 3 books about bears and survival. Which I guess is at least something. Plus, hello, eating only lentils/rice/basic food? That cannot be healthy if you walk for more than 12 hours a day. The hygiene is also terrible. I was just so shocked that this was allowed to be done to minors. That you could earn ranks… but also quickly could have taken them away from silly things. That parents thought this was the best way. WTF? I would have definitely broken up with my parents if this was me. Maybe not immediately because I am underage, but as soon as I can, BYE.
But I did love reading about the forest, the trees, the mountains, the other things they came across while hiking. The author definitely found a way to make it all very immerse and I could just imagine being there. Love it!
The counsellors… not a fan. Well, Amber was sweet and did her best, but Christian is just a fucking child molester and I wonder why no one is taking action or helping.
Normally I am NOT a fan of love triangles, but this one wasn’t too bad, and on the plus-side even the MC, Dawn, had issues with it. She was at times just tired of it, and even at one point thought about her feelings on love triangles. Still there is her drifting from one boy to another, unsure who she likes more, but given everything I could live with that.
The book really picks up from the moment things go totally wrong. I already flew through 200+ pages in an hour and a bit, but the last part… I just flew even faster. I had to know who would live and who would die. Who would finally be able to call for help. It was a scary rollercoaster of a ride with never a moment of peace. I love it to bits.
I also love the writing style, it really grabs you, the way it was written was just so well done. Plus, I love the little warnings, the author notes, and that Dawn’s thoughts (at least for most it seemed to be her thoughts) were in (). It really made it a special and good read.
I could probably rave some more about the book, but we are already at 900+ words, so let’s keep it to this. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to all. Love survival? Like some mystery and suspense? Great and interesting characters? Read it!