Published by Firefly Press, 2020.
Friends Lance, Chets, Katja and Mak are off on a residential with the rest of Year 6. Their destination: Crater Lake, a new activity centre. However, very quickly it becomes apparent that all is not as it should be. For one thing, the extra-curricular activities are far more dangerous than they’d expected…
Pretty soon the four friends, plus head girl Ade, are on their own, pitted against a swarm of enemies. It’s classic horror story stuff: creeping around the deserted corridors after lights-out, venturing into an eerie forest, and facing zombie-like adversaries. Oh, and whatever happens, they must never, ever fall asleep! I loved watching this close-knit band of children work together as a team to try to outwit their alien foe and survive against the odds.
Crater Lake is pacy and exciting. The first chapter ends on a dramatic cliffhanger and the tension doesn’t let up from there on in. There’s realistic dialogue; likeable, believable characters; and lots of humour. There’s a filmic quality to the book too; the scene setting is terrific – really atmospheric.
I liked how Lance isn’t your typical hero; he’s not the popular kid, or top of the class. In fact, he struggles with school work and is often in trouble. However, in this high pressure situation he is clear-thinking, practical and brave – a natural leader. I thought the group’s relationship dynamics – friendships and first crushes – were well drawn. The friendships are nuanced and each member of the group has a secret which they eventually reveal to the rest.
Crater Lake is scary and suspenseful storytelling – I loved it!
Suitable for children aged 9+
Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me this book to review.