Bad Call
Bad Call
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Annotation: Four teenagers experience terrifying and unexpected difficulties on a camping trip at Yosemite National Park.
Catalog Number: #148937
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 312 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-484-76813-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-484-76813-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016041770
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
There are lots of reasons Colin shouldn't sneak out of his boarding school to go backpacking in Yosemite: he can't afford it, he has to study, he doesn't have the gear, he's harboring some serious resentment of camping ringleader Ceo. But it's hard to say no to preternaturally charming Ceo, and Colin feels duty-bound to moderate the inevitable, ego-fueled conflicts between Ceo and their tennis teammate, Grahame. Things look better when Ceo adds smart, beautiful, and ambitious Ellie to their expedition, but things look bad again when changing weather and Ceo's impulsiveness leaves them stranded, lost, and running low on food. In this survival thriller, Wallenfels deftly builds tension by gradually unspooling the escalating conflict between Ceo and Grahame, who ominously brings an ax on their hike, as well as hints of the backstory between Colin and Ceo. Crackling banter and the barest glimmer of romance keep the mood fairly breezy, but the real draw here is the teens' realistic attempts at survival, which will thrill fans of the genre.
Horn Book
When three teenage boy classmates and one new girl go camping together in Yosemite National Park, the threats--both external (fire and storms) and internal (more than one hiker has an ax to grind...perhaps literally)--quickly pile up. Although the narrative voices are not always sufficiently distinct, the alternating viewpoints and shifting chronologies result in a slow-burning psychological thriller with consistently mounting tension.
Kirkus Reviews
A group of teens embark on an ill-fated camping trip in this survival story.Four tightknit but competitive friends from a Southern Californian boarding school are pushed by their ringleader, Ceo, into taking a clandestine backpacking hike in Yosemite. When one boy backs out, wealthy, charming Ceo takes the opportunity to invite Ellie, a young woman whom he previously met at a theater-arts workshop, to join them, further upsetting the already troubled balance. The narrative alternates between Colin, an earnest scholarship student, and Ellie, whose confident athleticism distinguishes her from Ceo's usual conquests, moving between the present and past, carefully meting out details and successfully ratcheting up the tension as elements both meteorological and psychological begin to take their toll. A prickling ambiguity about the motivations of the fourth participant in the trip, a massive, moody guy named Grahame, whose annoying habit of speaking in a fake Jamaican-style accent displays a notable degree of cultural ignorance, is enhanced by Ellie's and Colin's varying perspectives. Ethnicity of the four main characters is not specified although each is physically described at length; the role of class difference between Colin and the others is realistically pervasive and carefully wrought.A gripping, well-paced thriller that strikes a menacing tone, this will appeal to those looking for a good scare. (Psychological thriller. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up On what was supposed to be an "epic" camping trip to Yosemite National Park, Colin, Ceo, Grahame and Rhodey make one bad decision after another. First, Rhodey bails out at the last minute and is replaced by Ellie, a friend of Ceo that Colin and Grahame have never seen or heard about before. After deciding to keep going despite a fire in part of the park and an ill-advised race to the top by Ceo and Grahame, they make it to the apex of Yosemite. When a freak storm hits, they are unprepared. Ceo and Grahame are becoming increasingly hostile, and when the two go into the woods to get firewood, only Grahame makes it back to the camp carrying nothing but a bloody axe. After Grahame snaps and abandons his friends, and despite his conviction that Ceo is still alive, an exhausted and hypothermic Colin decides to leave his friend to get himself and Ellie back home safely. But is this just another bad call? Wallenfels makes a good call by telling this from the viewpoints of Colin and Ellie. It is interesting to see the story unfold through their disparate perspectives rather than a more conventional narrative. However, as the two of them come together and the action increases, their voices become more similar and the need for the separation becomes unnecessary. This well-written psychological thriller has a slow start filled with backstory, which gives readers a better chance to get to know the characters so they are more emotionally invested in each one's ultimate fate. VERDICT An engaging thriller that will find a strong readership. A solid first purchase. Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (12/1/17)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (1/1/18)
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12

It was supposed to be epic.

During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can't be broken.

The first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there's the forest fire at their intended campsite.But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.

A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there's a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that's not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can't figure out what their deal is.

And then one of them doesn't make it back to the tent.

Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

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