I was very excited to receive my signed pre-order of this fantastic book, along with a pin badge, from the publisher, Firefly Press.
But whatever happens they must never, ever, fall asleep!
Crater Lake is a perfect blend of jump-inducing scariness, brilliant characters and fast-paced action laced with a good dollop of humour and warmth! It kept me gripped and on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
The Year 6 children of Montmorency School are the first students to stay at the newly opened Crater Lake Activity Centre. They don’t experience the welcome normally reserved for excited children on a school residential: their bus is stopped by the figure of a bloodstained man with a warning. From this point on, the creepiness and fright levels keep on escalating which makes this a truly compelling read.
On arrival at the Centre, the children soon discover something strange is definitely afoot when they meet the Centre Manager, Digger who seems to be running the Centre on his own. The tension soon heats up, and the action explodes, as classmates and teachers change in dangerous and frightening ways … will the small group of friends be able to save themselves and their classmates, or will an unknown invader prevail?
Wow! The ramping up of the levels of scary from eerie and creepy to downright frightening and gross is brilliantly realised. I was utterly enthralled by the fast-paced plot from the stifling atmosphere to the pervading sense of danger to the twists and revelations … all combined with humour and heart from a fantastic group of firm friends.
I adored the camaraderie and humour between friends, Lance, Chets, Katja and Big Mak, as well as their new friend, Adrianne, which were incredibly authentic and heart-warming. They are all brilliantly written with their own strengths and vulnerabilities, and work fantastically well as a supportive team as they fight to survive and protect each other, even if this doesn’t always meet with success.
Lance is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist who I adored. He may not be the perfect student according to his, to be frank, appalling Assistant Head, but he is a very astute one. He shows himself to have an admirable inner strength, taking charge when needed and keeping his courage in place, despite his fear. He has a deep desire to keep everyone safe and goes to great lengths to do so, even when this puts him in danger. I love the way he opens up to his friends about a secret in his life, and how they reciprocate, making their friendship even stronger.
Crater Lake is an absolute triumph of a story with an ingeniously written plot that expertly balances horror, humour and heart. Perfect reading for Upper Key Stage 2 and beyond.