Marieke Nijkamp is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of YA novels, graphic novels, and comics, including This Is Where It Ends, Before I Let Go, Even If We Break, and The Oracle Code. Her short stories can be found in several anthologies. She also edited the anthology Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens.
Marieke is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, and geek. Before pursuing her lifelong passion for writing, she majored in philosophy and medieval history. She loves to go on adventures, roll dice, and daydream. She lives and writes in Small Town, The Netherlands.
FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.
Are you ready to play?
Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.
Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed how this book is supposed to be a game that the characters are playing yet it turns out to be a murder mystery instead. It is as if they are now playing a game within a game.
I thought that the build up from the start of the book until the first event outside of their game occurs was great. I was invested in learning more about each of these characters and their backstory. I felt for them as things continued to happen to each one of them throughout the book.
I really enjoyed the book as things started happening to the characters and at one point this became a book to only read during the day. The book was not only a spooky book but was also full of suspense. I really enjoyed reading to see what would happen to the characters but also reading to see what their secrets were. I liked that this book had multiple layers to it and there were many things that were being kept not just from the reader but from each of the characters.
Characters: This book cycles through several different main characters to tell each of their stories on their own and with each other. At first I did have a hard time remembering who was who but as the book progressed I was able to differentiate between them because of their different characteristics.
This book has transgender rep , non-binary rep , chronic pain rep, disability rep, autism rep, and bisexual rep. I really enjoyed that there was not just one trans/non-binary character and we got two of them. I thought those characters were done well and really liked how these were not the central point of the story. While the characters being trans/non-binary added to the interactions between characters I liked that it wasn’t a central plot.
I also really liked the autism rep in this book that is shown through Maddy. I liked how her friend group responded to her actions and how they didn’t put her aside because she is autistic. I like how they were able to figure out how to use her autism as something that could help them in their game. I really liked her reaction to when things got overwhelming and how her friends reacted to her being overwhelmed. Something else that I really enjoyed with this character is that she is multi dimensional and is so much more than her autism.
Writing style: When books go back and forth between characters as well as change in time I tend to get a bit confused and can’t follow the story. I was pleased to find that this was not the case in this book.
I enjoyed hearing things from each of the characters perspectives and liked that they all brought something different to the story. I also liked how you got to see some of the past to learn why the characters treated each other in certain manners and why they carried themselves certain ways.
You can purchase this book at Eso Won Books or look for it at your local library starting today.