Into the Sublime

Holt. Jul. 2022. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250191700.
Gr 9 Up–A quartet of strangers who meet through an anonymous thrill-seeking club go exploring into a dark and perilous cave rumored to be haunted by an immortal murderous witch to face their deepest fears. The cast of characters includes the unreliable narrator, 17-year-old white Amelie, who is joined by H who is Korean, Devon who is white, and Gia who is Latina and just celebrated her quinceañera. As they descend into danger, the four teenage girls start to question one another’s motivations for coming on the trip and whatever trust they had formed begins to deteriorate quickly. Each of the multifaceted characters has complicated reasons for their suspicious actions, all stemming from difficulty dealing with typical adolescent feelings around handling pressure and stress, seeking attention, and worrying what other people think. Heart-pounding action sequences keep the pages turning quickly and the vivid setting immerses readers inside the damp darkness believed to house paranormal monsters. The suspenseful story is told in multiple threads through flashbacks which results in secrets being uncovered through more of a slow reveal rather than a twist ending.
VERDICT Fans of atmospheric and psychological survival novels will race to the end of this horrific nonlinear adventure.

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