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THE GETAWAY by Lamar Giles Kirkus Star


by Lamar Giles

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-338-75201-4
Publisher: Scholastic

Trapped in an apocalyptic theme park, teens fight back.

Jay has it pretty good, all things considered, in a not-too-distant future absolutely ravaged by droughts, fires, floods, and powder-keg instability. He and his family are live-in employees of Karloff Country, a mountaintop in Virginia taken over by a billionaire family who created their own version of Disneyland as a refuge for their similarly wealthy peers to cavort away from the destruction they helped create. But when the end times loom, Jay realizes that the new guests, the Trustees, are privileged to the point of sociopathy, torturing staff over perceived slights with impunity. Jay rebels along with fellow Karloff Academy seniors Zeke and Connie and Seychelle, his crush and an heir to the Karloff fortune (Chelle’s racist grandfather, Franklin Karloff, hasn’t gotten over her White mom’s having had a biracial Black baby). They’re all fast friends; “the Black kids always find each other.” Narrated through multiple points of view, the novel features Jay’s perspective most prominently, with some interludes from his friends, all presented in Giles’ signature strong, accessible voice. With hints of Cory Doctorow, Jordan Peele, and Richard Matheson, this book stands on its own as a dystopian adventure, but the deeper metaphors around servitude, privilege, class, and solidarity mean that there’s a lot to think about as the characters reckon with their proximity to and complicity in violence both local and far-flung.

Hold tight: You’ll want to stay on this nightmarish roller coaster till the end.

(Horror. 13-18)