Del Rey: Ballantine. May 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780593359235. $27. HORROR
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.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing