by C. L. Taylor
Author: C. L. Taylor
Published: February 2021
Pages: 384 [paperback]
Thank you kindly to Harlequin Books for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
This was super clever and really good! Once you get going it’s a race to the end to get to the bottom of things. A thrilling book with an unexpected twist!
What’s it about?
This book is about six teenagers who become stranded on an island when on vacation in Thailand and one by one, their worst nightmares begin to come true.
It’s a YA psychological thriller and it is GOOD. I really enjoyed how fast-paced the book was and the way that Taylor has taken a familiar concept and put a little unique spin on it. I went into this not sure exactly what to expect: I love these premises where kids are stuck on an island (Nil being one example) but thought that this may run the risk of being unoriginal.
But Taylor has given us a mixed bag of personalities and a very unexpected twist to the conclusion of the who-dunnit-styled plot. The book rotates between the perspectives of Jessie and Danny as the events unfold and the reader tries to put their finger on what exactly is going on.
Why this surpassed my expectations
It was the ending, I won’t lie. This is an easy read so you’ll find yourself unable to put it down, but the thing that really landed this a solid four stars was the ending. There is a powerful message in it and this unexpected moment where everything is just a bit *real*.
But the action on the island is fun too. From early on, we know that Jessie is struggling to overcome some recent trauma in her past and this sense of overwhelm-ment (what even is the word for that?) is intensified when the island guide suddenly dies and the events kick into action with the kids having no idea how to survive (which is lowkey quite entertaining).
I found exploring the characters’ personalities quite interesting and trying to suss out if anyone truly had bad intentions and how all the puzzle pieces fitted together. It was definitely interesting to see everything that Taylor has managed to squeeze into this book. But the biggest thing to take away is that this is a spectacular demonstration of exploring important themes and issues such as mental health within the context of a story to help readers relate and understand.
So much fun! If this isn’t on your TBR then you should get busy adding it. There is a lot to explore and unpack in this book and I think my go-to word for this story right now, is clever. I hope Taylor continues to write such contemplative and compelling stories because I am THERE for it.
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