Review Blog

Sep 16 2015

Survivor by Tom Hoyle

cover image

Macmillan, 2015. ISBN 9781447286752
(Age: 14+) Murder mystery. Violence. Bravery. This is a macabre thriller for teen readers written by an English headmaster who has hidden his identity under an alias. (His reputation needs to be protected?) The cover suggests that readers who have enjoyed the Cherub and Gone series will also enjoy this book.
The characters are a group of young English teens who have won or gained a place on an Australian Bushcraft survival adventure. The central character, George, is there because he daringly rescued a child from a house fire. His bravery is put to the test more than once in the course of the story. The excitement for the young adventurers wanes when everything starts to go awry and misadventure and murder stalk the young teens.
Cleverly written, so that the end is foreshadowed early in the book, and with multiple voices narrating their experience and their reflections of the central character; it has appeal because of the foreboding that is created. Deaths occur violently, and mystery surrounds the perpetrator of the violence. Relationships between the group of teens is fraught with teen angst and bullying incidents and the author hints at back stories that suggest psychological fissures that implicate more than one of the characters as suspects in the drama. Without giving the ending away, there is considerable tension in the conclusion, but the reader knows it is coming! Because of the violence, I recommend this book to mature readers only in the 14+ age range.
[Note: If this book was made into a movie it would be M rated. There is also some abusive and foul language, but most extreme swearing is inferred.]
Carolyn Hull

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