No Escape

Random/Underlined. Apr. 2024. 208p. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9780593708774.
Gr 8 Up–Lexi and her cousin Tess are coping with the loss of their friend when they receive an invite to an escape room from a strange woman in a red outfit. Famous singer Beau and his best friend Zora receive the same invite. When the four of them arrive, they are forced to team up with the other’s partner in a competitive escape game where not everyone will survive. Past traumas, consequences for getting hints, and a tense atmosphere make this a game they will never forget. Will they figure out who the woman in red is? What does she want with them? This suspense thriller hits hard, not only with the intensity of the games but also in the way it handles the difficult situations the characters are dealing with mentally. It can be hard to communicate about issues stemming from suicide, but Stoffels handles it well. She also draws attention to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which should draw attention to the library’s nonfiction section.
VERDICT A great example of an escape room thriller, tailor-made for a teen audience. Not only will it “escape” your library shelves often, but it may lead to a desire for escape room programming.

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