Grade 7 Up-The myriad bits in 16-year-old Blake's brain become the stuff of an alternate universe, a nightmare amusement park in which he must experience seven wild rides before dawn in order to escape. The teen has always been the careful child in his family; at age seven, he was the only survivor of a school-bus crash. Since then, he has taken on the responsibility of saving his brother Quinn, who constantly needs to be rescued from his own impulsive behavior. Blake would certainly never accept the invitation to a midnight ride offered by the icily attractive Cassandra, a mysterious figure he encounters at Six Flags. However, when his brother steals the invitation and disappears, Blake has to follow. As he makes his way from one terrifying ride to another, Cassandra appears and disappears, challenging him, leading him on, and, finally, desperately attempting to keep him where he is, in the world she has created. His brother appears and disappears as well, and in one ride they discover that they need to work together. But at the end, Blake is on his own to face his deepest fears and survivor guilt. As the pace picks up in his surreal fantasy, readers are sucked into the nightmare, tumbling full tilt from one bizarre occurrence to another. Set in the vibrant, vivid atmosphere of theme parks and computer games, this is an unusual quest adventure. Teens will recognize both Quinn's sensation seeking and Blake's withdrawal, and celebrate the balanced conclusion.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW
Gr. 6-10. Sixteen-year-old Blake, a straight-arrow, Ivy-league, college-bound kid, is at a carnival with Quinn, his thrill-seeking brother, and two friends when a beautiful girl invites Blake to another carnival in a remote part of town that only admits invited guests. Later that evening, Quinn is found at home in a comatose state with Blake's invitation by his side. Did he go to the other carnival in Blake's place? When Blake and his friends go in search of the mysterious carnival to find out what happened to Quinn, they discover that the price of admission to this bizarre, phantom place is one's soul. To save Quinn, Blake must survive seven different carnival rides before dawn, each one a terrifying reflection of one of Blake's deepest fears. In the final ride, Blake confronts the memory of a horrible childhood accident that he has buried deep in his psyche--a school bus wreck in which he was the only survivor. With a nod to Ray Bradbury's classic Something Wicked This Way Comes, Shusterman has created a surreal, scary fantasy, packed with suspenseful psychological drama. Readers will savor the page-turning thrills in this wonderfully eerie story.
Its an amazingly fast pasted book. Shows how carnival rides can show you your depest fears and how one kid goes to the extreme to save his brother.
The plot involves two brothers. One of them chases the other into a bizarre phatom carnival that traps it's customers. In order to escape, he must survive 7 deadly rides by dawn! This page turner eerie story is set in a vibrant atmosphere of theme parks and computer games. A wonderful scary fantasy!
This is a very interesting read! The book is a fast read and it kept my attention throughout.
Not bad, but the symbolism really hits you over the head. Not very subtle
Going into this book I didn't know what to expect; I had never read any of Neal Shusterman's books. I believe not knowing much really expanded the reading experience for me while reading this book. I love the overall plot and setting of the book, the theme is what drew me in. I mean who doesn't want to read a YA horror suspense that takes place in a phantom carnival? Blake Our Main character was a rather relatable character to guide the adventure and trials within the villainous Cassandra's Carnival of Horrors. Blake like many of us dealt with fears, fears of his future as well as his past. I quiet relished the theme of bravery throughout the book, the bravery of facing one's deepest of fears. As of Blake's friend Russ and Maggie I found ever their trails, fears, and flaws to be constructive to the depth of the story. When Blake comes face to face with Maggie in the fun house ride it was quiet and emotional scene. Due to her fears and insecurities of herself she was transformed into a hideous monster, even her own boyfriend running from her new found form. To think the person she gave her heart to could not see past the creature she had become, running in fear from her had to be devastating. Then Blake comes forward to see her as see truly is, comforting her. Although when Blake had gotten through the ride believing Maggie was right with him is what really torn me up. Blake looked back to realize Maggie was not behind him but still one mirror away from escape, not being able to see or hear him ultimately losing herself to her fears as well as to the ride. To be so close yet not being able to save her had to have played on his fears of not being able to save the others on the bus accident long ago. Even as Blake continued on to ride after ride I held onto hope that he would somehow save Maggie, which lucky this book has it's happy ending. Now Russ's fear drove him to savagery, which illustrated who people handle fear differently. Russ being a jock gives society the impression he is strong, but when terrified will turn to unseemly actions. No one looks kindly upon killing an innocent to save yourself as Russ had faced, additionally his best friend. Now Quinn was interesting a different way that Blake or Russ, Quinn lived for the risk to mask his fear. Quinn was afraid to admit his fears, willing to give himself to the ride to run from his reality. Quinn exhibited that admitting you're afraid takes bravery.
I found Cassandra to be more or less the embodiment of chaos, which explains why she held no balance within her being, desiring it. Cassandra is the source of our challenges, our fears.
The lesson readers can come away with from reading Full Tilt is it is best to face your fears then run or hide from them. If you do you may end up apart of the works, lose yourself to the ride.
The ending was satisfying; bring a happy closure to the suspenseful tale. I appreciated this read and give it a score of four out of five stars.