What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies. Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
Six teens are locked in a room and they must choose one of them to die, or they all do. Yes, that sounds like an absolutely brilliant premise and I definitely, definitely wanted to give it a shot. Mystery books like these are usually hit or miss for me, but this one sounded good enough that I was willing to give it a shot! Trigger warnings: suicide, drug abuse, PTSD, death, violence, bullying
I really, really don’t know how I feel about this book. I feel like I’m on the edge of saying I didn’t like it, but there was enough good stuff to stop me from doing that. I’m conflicted. I’m not sure what to make of my overall feelings. It was good, but I did have some issues.
I was expecting this book to be told from multiple point of views, but Amber is the only narrating character! It threw me off for just a bit, but I ended up not minding. She has a really strong voice and I really liked her character. The book didn’t loose any of the twistiness I was expecting from multiple POVs. It got that from everything weaving together.
This book also alternates quite a bit from the present to flashbacks. A lot more of the book was spent in flashbacks than I was expecting. It kind of feels like there was barely any time spent in the room. The book is based around these characters being trapped in this room, and I was expecting a lot of angst and a lot of feelings and a lot commotion from that room. Though, the flashbacks weren’t all bad. It was cool to see the progression of Amber’s character, for secrets to be revealed, and for things to spiral until they’re almost out of control. They developed a dark feel to them, which I thought was really cool. They flowed in a really great way and they intersected with what was happening in the present in a solid way.
Alright, the big reveal in the end. I can say very little because I want to avoid spoilers, but I’m going to try to say what I feel! The reveal chapter was brilliantly written. On it’s own, it’s a really great chapter. But, the tone felt off with the rest of the book. It’s almost like it didn’t fit. I love, love what the reveal ended up being. It think it’s really cleaver. Though, I wasn’t shocked by it because I felt like I was trying to jam the puzzle pieces together. It was like it kind of didn’t fit. It takes A LOT to pull this kind of thing off, I think it just missed the mark.
I also had a hard time trying to get what this book was trying to go for. I couldn’t quite get the overall theme. Was it bullying, mental health, humanity, how we’re different, the choices we make, or a mishmash of all of that? I found it hard to grasp, so there some character development and some turmoil that I had a hard time wrapping my head around.
Two random thoughts. There was the whole “nerd, jock” social hierarchy in the school and it felt a bit weird. Also, one of the mainish characters was an Indian girl and it kind of felt like she was a “token POC character”. I could be off though, please tell me if so!
I did enjoy this book. I liked seeing the secrets come to life and the creepiness of being locked in the room did deliver. It showed how people who seem good can have such nastiness hiding underneath. It had a darkness running through it that I really enjoyed. I might have had some issues, but I did like reading it.
Thank you for reading!