Friday, January 22, 2010

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

Published: 2004
Pages: 201
Genre: YA fiction
Blake and Quinn are teenage brothers, but are exact opposites. Blake is the smart and sensible one, while Quinn is risky and fearless. While at the local theme park with some friends, the boys receive a mysterious piece of paper from a girl reading: "An invitation to ride. 10 Hawking Road. Midnight to Dawn." Confused but interested, they leave to go home. Later that night, Quinn is rushed to the hospital, apparently unconcious. However, Blake has a different theory - him and his friends follow the directions on the invitation and enter this obscure and perplexing phantom carnival. To rescue Quinn, they're taken on a thrilling and deadly adventure on seven rides, in hopes to make it out alive.
I recently re-read Full Tilt, the reason being because I had vivid memories of loving it years before when I first purchased it. The second time around, however, was not the same memorable experience as before! Let me elaborate.

I'll start off with the general plot. I found it to be cheesy and unoriginal, almost as if the author wrote it with the intention of turning it into a Disney movie. Seven rides that mimic your deepest fears? Originality? Not quite. Perhaps this concept might have worked if it was writen properly, who knows?

The characters have no depth; to me, they seemed fake and not very believable. It's clear that Shusterman attempted to depict them as people that the average teen could relate to, but instead they all turned out as the classic, stereotipical teenager - complete with the junky first car, nose piercing, and annoying younger brother.

Okay, enough about the negatives. Let's focus on some of the positive aspects of this novel. For one, Full Tilt was short. I don't mean this in a sarcastic way at all; rather, in a good way. If you're searching for a quick, easy read to kill some time, this might be your answer. It's not overly boring and will probably keep your interest while it lasts. But please, look into this book with the knowledge that you will most likely not find it engaging or creative.

Final verdict: Not worth the read.

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