Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 19th, 2017
Synopsis: It was supposed to be epic.
During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken.
So, the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite. But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.
A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is.
And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent. Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.
I love survivalist stories, so when I read the premise for Bad Call, I knew I had to try it, and for the most part I’m so happy I did. It’s a slow burner, but the steadily building suspense kept me glued to the pages and I wound up finishing this in one sitting.
I have to be honest and say at the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this. I had a difficult time buying into Ellie’s overcoming her misgivings and going off with a guy she barely knows and his two friends she’s never met. But the more I learned about her backstory, the more I could understand why this otherwise intelligent girl would throw caution to the wind. She and Colin wound up being my two favorite characters.
The reader hears from all the characters except for Grahame, which was my only other issue with the story. By the end, I felt I had a firm grasp of who Ellie, Colin, and Ceo were, but Grahame, not so much. A big part of the suspense is the tension between the boys. They’re friends, yet both Colin and Grahame have valid reasons for disliking Ceo. I really felt Colin’s mixed feelings toward his friend, but with Grahame it’s more telling, not showing, so I wound up not connecting with him as much.
The first 60% of the book deals with the rising tension and deterioration of the weather as the group gets further and further away from civilization. There are flashbacks detailing how the guys first met and what’s gone on between them at the private school they attend. The action kicks in during the latter part of the book and it had me feverishly turning the pages right up to the exciting conclusion.
Bad Call, is not your typical teen survivalist story. Except for Grahame, the characters are very complex and relatable. Although I knew from the premise and the cover that something horrible was going to take place involving an ax, when it did happen, I was still caught by surprise. I think this will be a fantastic read for high-schoolers and adult fans of YA fiction. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone younger due to language, drug use, and a couple of sexually suggestive scenes. It’s an attention grabber right from the beginning and if you’re a fan of survivalist stories mixed with loads of tension, suspense, and a bit of mystery, I think you’ll enjoy this.