The book starts off with a young woman running away from creatures, seeking refuge with a truck driver in his cab. And whatever is out there seems to be attacking his cab as well despite him driving fast.
We are than taken back about 2 days or so prior and are introduced to Doris, a High School Student and clearly an oddball, dresses differently and likes werewolves. She does not fit in with the rest of the ‘popular crew’ at school and gets bullied ruthlessly by the others. Only Jeffrey, a fellow student, gets bullied even more. In the first chapters, we get introduced to all 18 of the students who are preparing to go on a ‘survival camp’ weekend with their ex-military teacher, Tim O’Sullivan who wants to toughen them up. Once in the camp, strange things start to happen. First, all students seem to lose all their inhibitions, which for some of them really goes beyond their usual behaviour. But it is getting worse, and something is lurking out there.
I did enjoy this fast-paced read. I understand it is written for a movie script, and I can absolutely see this as a movie. It is not just teen/slasher, but there is a deeper background. Without giving too much away, each of the 18 students has their individual story which gets revealed as you read along, and there are reasons why some of them behave in a certain way i.e. is there more to the bullying than meets the eye. My favourite character (though not one of the lead characters) is probably Dawn who is deeply traumatised by her parent’s death which she witnessed and unable to speak since. None of the kids ‘background stories’ is giving in great detail and long explanations, but is interwoven, and this certainly brings the story along without stalling and without unnecessary padding. I did find the writing very refreshing. It does get a bit gory at the end, with torn body parts etc, but this is what we expect from a werewolf story really, don’t we?
I did had a bit of trouble at the beginning to extinguish between the different teens – there are 18 of them. I had to go back a few times so see ‘so who was that again?’ – obviously that won’t be so much of an issue with a film version. Some of them are more distinguished than others, but the authors do ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ their individualities i.e. Ronald whose nickname is Obama because he looks like the president, Elie who his disliked because ‘his folks’ are to blame for the US going to war (i.e. he is Muslim). It also becomes clear that they all live near a US Army base, so the life of most of them is in one way or another effected by being the children of Army personnel. And teacher O’Sullivan might have other motives as well rather than just being someone who wants adventure for their kids.
While there are some sexual scenes, it is nothing explicit and I would think it can be read from 16+ definitely.
Overall, an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the movie version. I did like the ending and for me personally, even though there is a lot of blot and guts here in the final chapters, in a twisted way it is also a positive story about raising above bullying and overcoming personal problems. Yes, some might disagree that it is a rather drastic way of dealing but than, it is fiction, and it is suppose to make us think and challenge.