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Kiersten White

Book - 2022

Fourteen contestants, including Mack, a homeless shelter resident who lost everything, embark on a seven-day competition and the chance to win $50,000 if they can successfully play hide-and-seek in an abandoned amusement park without being found and eliminated.

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FICTION/White Kiersten
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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Horror fiction
Paranormal fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Novels
Published
New York : Del Rey [2022]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
Map on endpapers.
Physical Description
240 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780593359235
0593359232
Main Author
Kiersten White (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Transitioning from YA fiction following the conclusion of her Camelot Rising trilogy (starting with The Guinevere Deception, 2019), White makes her adult debut with a contemporary thriller centered around a classic Greek myth, with just a touch of reality-show flair. Fourteen people desperate to make a fresh start have more in common than they know. That connection makes them prime candidates for the contest for which they have been selected: a competition based on a children's game, set in an isolated, long-forgotten amusement park, with a fabulous monetary prize for the winner. All they have to do is stay hidden from a mysterious seeker for a week. The shifting viewpoints of contestants and event organizers open a window to background and motivation and offer insight into the purpose behind the game while building tension as each contender is eliminated. The suspenseful plot combines elements of Thomas Tryon's classic Harvest Home, Netflix's Squid Games, and the social commentary of Jordan Peele's film oeuvre and mixes these with a revelatory pacing reminiscent of Spielberg's Jaws. Horror enthusiasts will devour this devilishly clever story. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

When Mack receives an invitation to participate in a hide-and-seek competition with a $50,000 prize, she's living in a homeless shelter and still wracked with guilt over surviving her family's murders years earlier. She and 13 other young people are taken to an abandoned amusement park, where they're told they must hide during daylight hours and that the first two members of their group to be found every day will be out of the competition. The competitors include a wannabe influencer, a young man banished from his religious sect, a lesbian veteran, an underemployed striver, and a kindly gas station attendant. They soon realize that whatever is seeking them in the park is not human. White's (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) adult debut still feels fundamentally like a YA novel. The prose is simplistic, and though the characters are out of their teens, most of them are emotionally stunted from trauma and seem younger (one has her first kiss ever during the competition). The idea that generational wealth requires violence to sustain it is delivered with an anvil, while the horror elements are underbaked; there are very few actual scares to be found. VERDICT This mashup of The Breakfast Club and The Hunger Games may appeal to young teens, but it's not recommended for adult horror readers.—Stephanie Klose Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Bram Stoker Award–winning YA author White (Camelot Rising) makes her adult debut with an enthralling, high-energy thriller grounded in supernatural horror. Fourteen contestants are dropped off in an abandoned amusement park for a weeklong game of extreme hide-and-seek with a massive cash prize. Among them is Mackenzie "Mack" Black, recruited through the homeless shelter where she's been staying. Mack is skilled at making herself invisible, having survived her father's massacre of her family by hiding. But as players develop alliances and rivalries, it becomes clear to some that there's more than money at stake, while others uncover the horrors lurking in the park. White's depictions of players other than Mack begin in stereotype, but she gradually reveals enough emotional depth in each that, by the time they become a team determined to survive, the reader is ready to cheer them on in both their escape and their satisfying revenge against those who would treat them as disposable. White skillfully balances the terrifying solo experiences of individual characters, the tense group dynamics, and the park's backstory to create a constantly shifting narrative backed by a growing sense of dread. With this exhilarating outing, White proves she has a finger on the pulse of millennial horror. (May) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Fourteen contestants, including Mack, a homeless shelter resident who lost everything, embark on a seven-day competition and the chance to win $50,000 if they can successfully play hide and seek in an abandoned amusement park without being found and eliminated.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White. “The suspenseful plot combines elements of Thomas Tryon’s classic Harvest Home, Netflix’s Squid Game, and the social commentary of Jordan Peele’s film oeuvre and mixes these with a revelatory pacing reminiscent of Spielberg’s Jaws.”—BooklistThe challenge: Spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.The prize: enough money to change everything.Even though everyone is desperate to win—to seize a dream future or escape a haunting past—Mack is sure she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.It’s the reason she’s alive and her family isn’t.But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes that this competition is even more sinister than she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide but nowhere to run.Come out, come out, wherever you are.