304p. Little, Brown/Jimmy Patterson. Jul. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316515061.
Gr 9 Up—Maddie Davenport is on a camping trip with her friends and family in a remote mountain region. The outing starts with a round of scary stories around the fire only to derail when members of the camp are murdered one by one in the styles of their spooky tales. Maddie must face down the demons of her past to defeat the monsters in her present. Pacing issues weaken the book. The titular campfire stories are beautifully crafted vignettes that will leave readers biting their nails. The main narrative, however, has a slow burn and packs most of the actual horror into the tail end of the novel. Suspense is doled out in small doses. Maddie herself is a complex character with a tragic backstory and a lot of heart. This is a wonderful representation of the "Final Girl" horror movie trope. But the supporting cast is so vast that the individual characters seem emotionally underdeveloped. They become a sum of their misdeeds, with thin motivations. This will make it hard for teens to invest emotionally in their inevitable demise.
VERDICT A mildly enjoyable summer read for teens looking to dip their feet into the slasher subgenre.

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