Author: Lorence Alison
Genre: Horror YA
Publisher: Imprint Books
Publication date: February 18 2020
Hardcover: 288 pages
A music fest goes wrong in this comic YA thriller as selfie-mad concert-goers wake up to realize their tropical island fantasy is a deadly nightmare.
When Adri is offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the exclusive Solstice Festival, she throws caution, her prestigious summer internship, and her parents goodwill to the wind. She just wants to live a little before the first day of the rest of her life, planned and scheduled in accordance to her parents’ law school dreams.
But when she and a horde of affluent, entitled teen partiers arrive at the island paradise, it looks nothing like the luxury vacation they were promised. There’s barely any food, nowhere to stay, and not nearly enough porta-potties. Pretty soon, the festival’s trending on social media for all the wrong reasons, and the music acts are cancelling left and right.
And then the first dead body washes up on the beach.
Adri has a front-row seat as everything devolves into chaos—and she’s in a prime position to put together the clues to who—or what—is killing off the helpless attendees. But even if she finds the killer, how can she hope to stop them?
Check your privilege at the door—before it gets you killed. This is one vacation you can’t escape.
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
How did I get this book: Review copy from publisher
Format (e- or p-): ebook
Adri is a regular teen from a middle class family of Peruvian immigrants whose parents own a dinner and also her soul – I mean, they are very strict and hope she will either be a doctor or lawyer when really, she just wants to be a journalist. Still, it is hard to go against their wishes when 1) they work so hard to make their family comfortable and 2) Adri’s older sister is such a disappointment already. So Adri is more than ready to spend her summer at the prestigious summer internship at a law firm – and maybe hang out with her best friend Elena or the new guy she has a crush on. When Elena – who is super rich, super fabulous – tells Adri she got tickets for the uber exclusive Solstice Festival aka THE event of the summer – a festival that costs $10,000 per ticket to go to an idyllic island with deluxe accommodation, gourmet food, spa and celebrities and many other promises made on social media. Adri is partly horrified at the utter ridiculousness of it all but is convinced by Elena to go both as a summer vacation with her best friend but also for the opportunity to be up close to her favourite performer, Lavender. She takes off without her parents’ permission and hopes to have the time of her life and apologise latter.
When they arrive though, nothing is as advertised. The promised limos are not expecting them at the airport. The location of the festival is deserted and unprepared, there is no Internet or cell phone connection anywhere, the food truck is a joke, there are no luxurious villas and there isn’t even a first aid station. Things turn to even worse when Adri and Elena have a fight and when one of the festival goers dies in mysterious circumstances, Adri knows something is very, very wrong. But she is on the case: perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for her to start her reporting career.
If she makes it out alive.
Solstice is a fun mix Nancy Drew and Christopher Pike against the backdrop of a music festival that emulates the now infamous Fyre Festival. If you don’t know what I am talking about, good for you but also WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, go read up on it immediately then come back here.
Part of the fun in the book is knowing what would happen with the festivals goes once they arrived on the island, knowing how Fyre Festival played out and then expecting the promised MONSTER to attack. What I didn’t expect but appreciated a whole lot was Adri’s voice as a narrator who had a different view about the events than the privileged rich kids and who was also more attuned to the voices of the local population who worked hard to make the Festival happen while seeing it for the train wreck that it was. The novel also had a lovely side that focused on Adri and Elena’s friendship and their bond. Despite their differences and the fight they have at first, the two come together to overcome their problems and find solutions to save their lives. The mystery has a good build-up and intriguing resolution too.
If I have one big-ish complaint is that I wish it had been gorier, campier and bloodier. More monsters, all time, is what I am saying. And by monsters, I do mean, creatures-from-the-depth monsters. There were plenty of con men that throw con fests-type monsters.
Still, it was sufficiently campy to amuse me for a few hours.
Rating: 6 – Good