Booklist Reviews 2017 December #2
There are lots of reasons Colin shouldn't sneak out of his boarding school to go backpacking in Yosemite: he can't afford it, he has to study, he doesn't have the gear, he's harboring some serious resentment of camping ringleader Ceo. But it's hard to say no to preternaturally charming Ceo, and Colin feels duty-bound to moderate the inevitable, ego-fueled conflicts between Ceo and their tennis teammate, Grahame. Things look better when Ceo adds smart, beautiful, and ambitious Ellie to their expedition, but things look bad again when changing weather and Ceo's impulsiveness leaves them stranded, lost, and running low on food. In this survival thriller, Wallenfels deftly builds tension by gradually unspooling the escalating conflict between Ceo and Grahame, who ominously brings an ax on their hike, as well as hints of the backstory between Colin and Ceo. Crackling banter and the barest glimmer of romance keep the mood fairly breezy, but the real draw here is the teens' realistic attempts at survival, which will thrill fans of the genre. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall
When three teenage boy classmates and one new girl go camping together in Yosemite National Park, the threats--both external (fire and storms) and internal (more than one hiker has an ax to grind...perhaps literally)--quickly pile up. Although the narrative voices are not always sufficiently distinct, the alternating viewpoints and shifting chronologies result in a slow-burning psychological thriller with consistently mounting tension. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.