A YA contemporary about 2 teens who join forces in a survival competition that could change their lives.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.
After reading one thriller after another, I was desperately seeking a novel that was from a different genre. I was glad to have been approved for this ARC as I haven’t read a contemporary story in a while!
The Perfect Escape
Published March 7, 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire
Data from Goodreads
Summary (Goodreads): Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?
Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and Kate needs the money too.
If the two of them team up, Nate has a true shot at winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…
My Review: More character development than I expected!
While this story was initially marketed as a rom-com, it was more about developing the characters of 2 teenagers … and I actually preferred this!
The Pros: What worked for me
- I loved our two protagonists. Both of their personalities were unique and shaped by their experiences and their circumstances. (Click to reveal spoiler) On the one hand, we have Nate who comes from a Korean family that is not the most financially secure. Then, we have Kate, whose father is a rich CEO of a tech company. Reading about how both characters had their own issues to contend with, coming from such diverse backgrounds was really interesting and the author gave readers an opportunity to really connect with both protagonists.
- I liked the way the story made its transition into the survivalist competition – it actually took me a bit by surprise because I had been so caught up with just reading about the lives of the 2 protagonists. It was a nice bit of action that really broke up the story and helped bring our heroes closer together.
The Cons: What I didn’t like
- At times, I felt like the way the two characters spoke to each other was a bit juvenile. The jokes and “funny” moments were more cringy than anything else, so I wish the author had made this a bit more realistic.
- I didn’t like how one-dimensional Kate’s father was; he literally had no personality. (Click to reveal spoiler) The author made him out to be some cold, and terrible parent who didn’t care about anyone. He wasn’t even given a chance to redeem himself! I found this to be extremely childish and unrealistic, especially when so much effort was made to develop other characters in the story.
This novel was not perfect. But it was sweet in its own way and I really did connect on some level to the main characters. I enjoyed the journey this story took me on and I think the addition of a survivalist competition added an element that was unique to this YA contemporary experience. For those reasons, I’m giving this book 3/5 stars!