Vega, D. (2015). Survive the Night. New York: Razor Bill, Penguin Random House. ISBN-13: 978-1-595-14725-7 Paperback-$5.62
Survive the Night tells the story of Casey as she returns home from rehab to prescription drugs and attempts to rebuild her life with her family and friends and regain their trust. Upon returning home Casey is persuaded by her friends; Shana, Aya, and Julie to attend a New York City Rave party within its subway tunnels. Casey ignores her feelings of hesitation to not go to the rave party knowing she will most likely bump into her ex-boyfriend Sam and the temptation to take part in drug use will be everywhere. It is at the rave that the problems for the teens begin. Casey and her friends discover the body of their friend Julie torn apart and being eaten by rats. Believing that Julie had just gone off with a boy they did not question her long absence nor did they hear Julie’s screams for help over the loud music. Suddenly, Casey, Shana, Aya, and Sam cannot find their way back to the rave nor can they find their way out of the subway tunnels and all the manholes are sealed shut and they are being chased by something unknown.
I do not recommend this book. I am not a fan of horror stories and this book confirmed why. The story had illogical sequence of events that leaves the reader frustrated and annoyed while reading the novel. Also, the teens are being chased and attacked by a squid… yes. You read correctly a squid. Ultimately, a very unsatisfying experience that I do not think teens would enjoy. I try to select novels with themes that are relevant for teens throughout the duration of this project and due to the current opioid epidemic within the country I thought that the author would present the challenges of addiction realistically. I do not think the author really addressed Casey’s addiction realistically, she almost overdosed yet believes everyone around her is overacting to this incident. While Casey does not attempt to use drugs throughout the novel she reconnects with the same friends who put her in circumstances where she must show willpower not to participate in drug use. I think this sends young readers the wrong message that you can return from rehab corrected with no more challenges to substance abuse while continuing the same social practices that you engaged in before rehab. I do not think that recovery from substance abuse should be presented as a problem that can be repaired with a temporary period in rehab when recovery is a daily choice made by the person each day and often requires the pruning away of one’s addict prone friends.
Albert, M. (2018). The Hazel Wood. NewYork: Flatiron Books; First Edition edition (January 30, 2018). ISBN-13: 978-1-250-14790-5 Paperback-$10.99
The Hazel Wood is a fantasy novel that is stylized as the fairytale folklores you read as a child. The book is the first novel for author Melissa Albert that takes us on Ella Proserpin’s heroic journey to rescue her mother from within the mythical Hinterlands. Alice Proserpine is the main character who has grown up on the move with her mother Ella Proserpine who has sheltered her from her grandmother and the collection of fairytales her grandmother has written, Tales from the Hinterland that has a cult fanbase. When Alice’s grandmother passes away, Ella declares herself free and proceeds to marry a wealthy man to put a life of struggle behind her. Shortly after re-marrying, Ella is kidnapped and Alice is led on a journey to Hazel Wood estate, the home of her grandmother. She realizes that her mother was taken by the creatures in her grandmother’s fairytales but knowing nothing about the stories Alice must enlist the help of Ellery Finch a fanatic of The Tales from the Hinterland to help guide her along her personal journey as they encounter mysterious creatures on an adventure to her grandmother’s estate to rescue her mother. Alice soon discovers that she is a character in one of the fairytales. Will Alice be able to finish her story and rescue her mother?
I enjoyed reading this book it continued to make the reader anticipate the next plot twist only to be surprised by an unexpected character or event. It presented the main character who was confident self-reliant but still appreciated help from her friends. The author nicely tied in romantic interest and tension between Alice and Finch that offer a nice balance between the fairy tale characters and adventures.