Release Date: July 7, 2015
Synopsis ~ Trying to liven up an otherwise boring afternoon Fletcher and Adam decide to go on a short hike. When neither of them return, search parties are formed to comb the dense woods. Avery, the police chief’s daughter discovers a badly beaten and disoriented Fletcher who’s covered in blood. He has no memory of what happened and doesn’t know where Adam is. As danger and suspicion build through the town, only one thing is clear. No one can escape the truth.
“I’m going to die.
The thought came to him with a sickening dread.
I don’t want to die.”
That’s just one gut-wrenching glimpse into the mind of Fletcher who basically tore my heart out and stomped on it during this psychological thriller.
The Escape quickly sets up all of it’s players and then focuses on the mystery of what happened to these two teenage boys. It’s told in the alternating third person POV of Fletcher and Avery which for the most part works, although I think the story would have been even more intense if it had been told in the first person. Fletcher is definitely the heart and soul of this story. A loner before the mysterious attacks, Adam, a popular jock, is his only friend. I wish there had been a little more regarding his backstory as he’s considered a “Freak” by many of his classmates, yet there’s no explanation as to why. The majority of his POV deals with his pain and guilt at surviving, and his desperate attempts to remember what happened.
Avery reminded me a little of Veronica Mars. While not designated a “Freak” like Fletcher, she’s the quintessential “good girl” and also a loner. Having lost her mother to an unsolved hit-and-run, she and her father share a very close bond. While she knows Fletcher through school, they don’t become friends until she finds him during the search and rescue. She winds up becoming extremely protective of him and does everything she can to help him remember the horrible events of that day. The secondary characters basically serve as foils for the two main characters and don’t really add anything substantive to the story.
While I wasn’t completely surprised at the outcome, the way the plot unfolded still kept me in suspense. There’s no romantic angst which would have taken away from the tension, and I found myself second guessing my conclusions quite a few times. There’s some passages where I found myself squirming as Fletcher’s memory starts to return, hence the aforementioned heart stomping.
When I was a teenager many, many, many years ago, one of my favorite authors was Lois Duncan and Hannah Jayne definitely reminds me of her. This isn’t a perfect book, but it’s fast-paced and at 256 pages, an easy read. I don’t wish to give away any spoilers, but it’s also an interesting look at a mental health issue in teens which isn’t dealt with a lot in YA fiction. It’s inclusion is interesting and added another layer to an already intriguing story. Overall The Escape kept me on the edge of my seat, and I have no problem recommending this to anyone who enjoys YA thrillers.