High school senior Riley Ozment is desperate to change her reality after making a fool of herself on social media. She needs to do something drastic to repair her social standing—like trying out for a Survivor-style reality TV show. Suddenly, Riley’s dropped onto a deserted tropical island with nineteen other teens competing for a million dollars and a rumored treasure lost on the island.– GoodReads
At first I forgot I requested this and my initial reaction at reading ‘Survivor-style reality TV show’ had me shook in my own judgement. I am not a huge reality TV watcher so I was confused until I glanced at the rest and remembered I got this because it sounded like a super unique and interesting thriller.
Survivor meets thriller? Yes please.
I went in to this pretty jazzed and though it was a hugely fun read it was not a thriller.
Every time I thought we were going to hit that sort of sweet spot of terror and high stakes, it panned out slightly too easily and there wasn’t really enough death or crime to warrant it being called a thriller.
The characters were completely typical to what tropes and stereotypes you might find on a reality show and I actually liked that Brooks fed into those tropes. It was part of what made it so fun to read. This is also more of a scavenger hunt meets Survivor. There’s lost treasure, prizes and teenagers competing who all have a reason to win.
But the stakes never felt high enough there were glimpses of what it could have been and some super creepy vibes being given off as well as a bit of a random angle with the pedophile-groomer, but that random bit aside, you just didn’t bite your nails and wonder if Riley was going to be okay. You knew she would.
Taking that into consideration, it fell flat as a thriller. As a mystery/scavenger hunt though? It did much better.
Pacing was alright, it did take a while to gain momentum but there was always something happening to keep my interest. The romance aspect was really something I probably could have lived without and the ending didn’t strike me as really plausible as far as friendships formed and kept but I still liked it, I think that had to do with me enjoying the writer’s style a lot.
Anyway this is 3/5 cups of coffee from me. Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion! This book is out tomorrow (01/04/22)!