The Escape by Hannah Jayne

9:00 AM

Title: The Escape
Author: Hannah Jayne
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 256
Source: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
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Overall: 3.5 STARS

Not everyone who goes into the woods comes out....

It was supposed to be a short hike, a way for Fletcher and Adam to kill time one boring afternoon. But when day turns into night and neither boy returns home, their town is thrown into turmoil.

Search teams comb the forest. Then Avery, the police chief's daughter, stumbles on a body. It's Fletcher—disoriented, beaten, and covered in blood. He has no memory of the incident, and worse yet, he has no idea what happened to the still-missing Adam....

As danger and suspicion grow, one thing becomes very clear: No one can escape the truth.

My Thoughts:  
When Adam Marshall and Fletcher Carroll never return from their afternoon hike in the woods, the town of Dan River Falls immediately sends out teams of volunteers to search through the forest for the missing teen boys. Only Fletcher is found alive, severely beaten, disorientated, and traumatized, unable to recall what happened to himself and Adam, no matter how hard he tries to remember. Their small town has never faced such a terrible tragedy. As the police hunt for a dangerous murderer, the progress of their investigation is hindered when there are few leads to help them. A curfew is soon put into effect to protect residents, but tensions are running high and rumours of what happened in the woods are running rampant.

Adam was the town's golden boy, popular and a jock, the complete opposite of Fletcher, an outcast always on the periphery of social circles at school. Nobody really understood their friendship, and when the miracle of finding Fletcher alive begins to fade away, suspicion grows instead. As Fletcher's wounds begin to heal, he can't help feeling a deep sense of survivor's guilt. Even more disheartening? What many of his classmates are thinking, but not saying to his face, is that Adam should've been found alive, not Fletcher.

Avery Templeton, daughter of the local police chief, is driven with need to understand what really happened in the woods. Ever since the fateful moment she found a bloody and bruised Fletcher collapsed in the dirt, she can't shake the paranoia and fear that the violence is not over yet. Forging a friendship with lonely Fletcher, Avery is determined to help him unlock his memories and get answers, even though her father warns her to keep her distance from his case.

Avery's impulsiveness wasn't exactly endearing; it did annoy me a few times. As she did her own little investigation, she'd quickly jump to her own conclusions without really thinking things through, so convinced that she had to be right. Avery was not immune to casting blame before there was absolute evidence to support her claims, so it made me wary to trust her opinions. Unreliable narration can really help to heighten suspense, but I don't think Avery's perspective was written as strongly as Fletcher's. (Or maybe I just didn't really agree with some of the choices she made? Choices that were not smart and/or left her vulnerable.)

Hannah Jayne's The Escape is an underrated YA thriller that's perfect to read on a dark, stormy night to really capture its creepy and mysterious tone. You might just be a little more wary of venturing into the woods in the future. Trust your instincts. You may or may not be able to foreshadow the twist of an ending Hannah Jayne has in store for readers. My heart was crazily pounding as I turned the final pages! I just wish the ending wasn't so abrupt because I was still left with lingering questions...

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