Monday, December 18, 2017

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

Setting: Yosemite
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release Date: December 19, 2017

The opening caught my attention. A couple get lost and struggle to return to their base camp. When they get there, things aren't right. Someone's covered in a dark stain that appears to be blood. The story skips back at this point and introduces the characters.

Tennis teammates and friends Grahame, Rhody, Colin, and Ceo decide to head off on a trek through Yosemite National Park. Things don't go as planned when Rhody backs out. Everyone's going to have to chip in more now to cover expenses. It's also a little odd that Grahame insists on carrying a heavy ax, and Ceo invites a group of young women none of them really know at the last minute.

In Yosemite, things continue to go downhill. The section they planned to explore is on fire, so they choose to go up Snow Creek Falls instead. It soon becomes clear to Ellie and her friends that these guys have their issues, and this may be a far more deadly trip than any of them could ever expect.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Bad Call starts off with a bang. I was hooked with the opening chapter. A few chapters in, I found myself losing focus. As the guys met up with the girls, I struggled. It took a bit before I got back into the flow of the story. It takes a while for the action to really begin.

It's a story of survival, friendships, secrets, and nature. The pacing moves swiftly, and that opening paragraph definitely set the stage for the events about to hit. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get to the actual point where the introduction tied back in and action picked up.

RTR's Bottom Line

I never loved the characters. The guys reminded me a bit too much of some of the jocks from my high school days. I liked Ellie and her friends better, but I still never found myself connecting with them either.

In the end, Bad Call hooked me, lost me, and then hooked me again. I'm so glad I stuck with it, but I'm not sure it's a book I'd keep permanently to read again and again.

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