Title: The Long Weekend
Author: Savita Kahlan
Publisher: Anderson Press, 2008
Synopsis: Sam knows that he and his friend Lloyd made a colossal mistake when they accepted the ride home. They have ended up in a dark mansion in the middle of nowhere with man who means to harm them. But Sam doesn’t know how to get them out. They were trapped, then separated. Now they are alone. Will either of them get out alive?
In the social networking circles I frequent there was a lot of chatter about The Long Weekend. For a start it tackled some gritty issues and carries a warning: not suitable for younger readers, so that perked up my interest. Plus if you’ve read Savita’s posts on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure or in general, she raises some interesting questions about writing for teens and pushing limits. So I was thrilled when Savita ran a book giveaway and I won a copy. It’s signed and everything.
I liked Sam the main character straight away, he’s lived in three different countries by the time he’s eleven. I know kids like this and I don’t read about them very much, so that spoke to me. The book is quite short, and Savita doesn’t waste much time getting into the action, by page six Sam and his friend Lloyd are in trouble. They don’t know it yet, but Savita creates a sense of tension and unease in a few words, a sentence here, an action that gives away the character’s state of mind and then you know something is amiss and Sam is suspicious while Lloyd is denial.
I don’t want to give too much away now, because basically the synopsis tells you as much as I have and this is a thriller after all. Basically what we get over the next few chapters is Sam being forced to grow up very quickly. He’s a very believable character. He knows he’s changing and is scared witless by it, but at the same time possesses a courage that you hope will get him through this situation.
The climax is quite shocking and perhaps my only criticism of the book. I just wonder if everything tied up too neatly, but perhaps this is what children need to read given what they have been reading before. I’m not usually a big fan of epilogues either, but i think that if you’ve read this much, it’s probably good to know that you don’t just close the book and everything goes away.
So, all in all this is a great first book and I give it: