Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

What happens when you are suddenly pulled away from the real world, and plunged into a carnival where your soul can be claimed? Blake needs to decide between his own safety, or his brother’s. Every decision counts, as the carnival awaits for his defeat.

Most YA horror are formulaic, and this novel proved no different. A guy has to save someone in a world full of his fears. I honestly didn’t care about his fears and the not-so-scary carnival rides, but the characters, or at least some of them, were really well developed. Blake and Quinn are brothers who don’t get along all the time because of their differences, but they’re brothers nonetheless. I liked how the author worked on their relationship as brothers and ended up making me feel a sense of connection between one of the two.

If you’re looking for a YA novel with a very good plot, then steer away from this. On the other hand, if you’re looking for one with very good character development and decent writing, then this is the novel for you. Speaking of the writing, all I can say is that I can’t really complain much on it. This was obviously aimed for younger audiences, so that means that the author had to dumb things down a little. A lot of things shouldn’t have been emphasized on but the author expounded on those.

A few months ago I used to grab a YA book with a ready feeling of hatred toward it. I’m turning 20, so I’m more of an adult than a teenager. I don’t like things dumbed down because it makes the plot shallow. Recently I learned not to expect much on any book, especially YA ones. They’re not naturally bad, but one’s perception plays a huge role in the overall enjoyment. I could’ve easily hated this for being too YA, but I didn’t, and I won’t. It had a decent plot so I honestly won’t hate on it just because it didn’t give me much of a scare. I’m sure that younger readers would’ve been terrified with the premise alone, more so with the plot. All I can say is that keep an open mind when it comes to novels that aren’t intended for your age, but don’t get me wrong though because I know a lot of adults who love to read middle grade and YA. It differs from person to person, but keeping an open mind will surely help, in my case.

What made me aware of the existence of this novel would be Buzzfeed. I’m subscribed to their few-times-a-week emails of books that you should read, and this was #1 in their 23 Underrated Books Every Horror Fan Needs To Read ASAP so the book was added to my TBR instantly because the premise was great. A few days later, I was strolling around the bookstore and suddenly saw this book, so I bought it in an instant. I even read it right away because I couldn’t choose what book to read next. Conclusion would be, don’t trust Buzzfeed, or at least lower down your expectations.

3/5 stars. Cheap thrill but a good comfy read. A great pick if you’re in a reading slump. I’m excited to read more of Shusterman’s work in the future.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. ellisnelson says:

    I probably would have rated it higher. I like Schusterman a lot because he does challenge us more than many YA writers do.


    1. I completely agree with you. I’m planning to read more of his works in the near future.

      Liked by 1 person

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