The Lake by Natasha Preston

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Childhood best friends Esme and Kayla return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors in training. They are both thrilled to be back but hold onto a dark secret. The last time they were at Camp Pine Lake, something bad happened. Really bad. They never told anyone about it, but someone out there knows what they did. And they want revenge. The Lake never forgets.

Author Natasha Preston presents us with another heart stopping thriller. Esme, observant, smart, quiet and paranoid and Kayla, pretentious, social, animated and anxious, the two main characters battle with their own guilt of what happened ten years ago all whilst trying to provide an exciting summer camp experience for the children. The characters can come across as cliche, the "plain Jane" brunette, the popular blonde, the jock, the mysterious boy, the damaged villain. Each has their own story and carries their own secrets. As the threats start coming in and become more targeted and violent, secrets start to reveal themselves and everyone becomes a suspect.

The plot starts off fairly slowly, giving us time to get to know the characters and witness their newfound relationships start to blossom. From early on readers find out exactly what happened "last summer", quickly escalating to a heart stopping, griping finale that leaves readers thinking . . . "BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!" In traditional Natasha Preston style, the book ends with a huge cliff-hanger, with no indication of a sequel. Lovers of YA thriller will enjoy this story, with constant twists and turns that will leave you constantly looking over your shoulder and perhaps avoiding dark forests for a while.

Themes: Adolescents, Emotionally disturbed children, Murder, Thriller, Summer, Fear, Gun violence.

Emily Feetham