|Credit to Thomas S and Jered M of Bernotas Middle School for this student-made video!|
Awards & HonorsAmerican Library Association "Popular Paperbacks" 2005
International Reading Association - Young Adult Choice, 2005
New York Public Library Best Book For Teenagers Award List 2005
Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Award list 2005/2006
Nebraska Golden Sower Award List 2005/2006
Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Award list 2005
Rhode Island Teen Book Award list 2005
South Dakota Prairie Pasque Young Adult Book Award list 2006
Texas Lonestar Award 2004/2005
Utah Beehive Award list 2004/2005
New Jersey Garden State Young Adult Book Award list, 2006
Connecticut Young Adult "Nutmeg" Award List, 2006
Ohio "Buckeye" Children's Book Award List 2005/2006
Michigan - "Thumbs Up" Award List 2003
Baltimore "Great Books for Teens" List, 2003
Maryland Black-eyed Susan Award List, 2006
Nevada Young Readers Award list2006
South Carolina Young Adult Book Award list 2005/2006
California Readers Award List, 2004
Junior Library Guild featured selection 2003
Sixteen-year-old Blake has always been the responsible one in his dysfunctional family -- the one who drives safely, gets good grades, and looks after his wild younger brother, Quinn. Quinn is his brother's opposite -- a thrill-seeker who's always chasing the next scary rush, no matter what the cost. But Quinn and Blake are in for the surprise of their lives when they're thrust into the world of a bizarre phantom carnival -- and their souls are the price of admission.
In order to save his brother, and himself, Blake must survive seven different carnival rides before dawn. Seven rides...it sounds easy. But each ride is full of unexpected dangers, because each ride is a reflection of one of Blake's deepest fears. And the last ride is the worst one of all. Because that's the one that confronts Blake with a terrifying secret from his past -- a secret he's been running from for years.
Full of roller-coaster twists and turns, Neal Shusterman's latest page-turner is an Orpheus-like adventure into one boy's psyche.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-The myriad bits in 16-year-old Blake's brain become the stuff of an alternate universe, a nightmare amusement park in which he must experience seven wild rides before dawn in order to escape. The teen has always been the careful child in his family; at age seven, he was the only survivor of a school-bus crash. Since then, he has taken on the responsibility of saving his brother Quinn, who constantly needs to be rescued from his own impulsive behavior. Blake would certainly never accept the invitation to a midnight ride offered by the icily attractive Cassandra, a mysterious figure he encounters at Six Flags. However, when his brother steals the invitation and disappears, Blake has to follow. As he makes his way from one terrifying ride to another, Cassandra appears and disappears, challenging him, leading him on, and, finally, desperately attempting to keep him where he is, in the world she has created. His brother appears and disappears as well, and in one ride they discover that they need to work together. But at the end, Blake is on his own to face his deepest fears and survivor guilt. As the pace picks up in his surreal fantasy, readers are sucked into the nightmare, tumbling full tilt from one bizarre occurrence to another. Set in the vibrant, vivid atmosphere of theme parks and computer games, this is an unusual quest adventure. Teens will recognize both Quinn's sensation seeking and Blake's withdrawal, and celebrate the balanced conclusion.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC