Midnight at the Houdini

Delacorte. Sept. 2023. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593486795.
Gr 6 Up–In Las Vegas, 16-year-old Anna planned the perfect wedding for her sister, and it has just gone off without a hitch. She’s riding home in her affluent hotelier father’s limo when a tornado warning sends them searching for their nearest hotel property, but disaster strikes first. Anna climbs out of the wrecked limo and, fleeing from the storm, stumbles into the one hotel they wanted to avoid: the Houdini. Inside, she finds a mysteriously empty, old-timey lobby, and the deeper she goes looking for help, the stranger things get. Now trapped in the Houdini, she has until midnight to escape or remain there forever, along with the many other trapped souls she meets along the way. She’s aided by the villain’s own son, and readers will be glued to Max and Anna’s harrowing escape journey through the beautifully described destinations inside the magical hotel. It’s a delightful mix of Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland.
VERDICT Dawson’s masterful conveyance of the setting truly makes this one an immersive adventure. Recommend to readers who enjoyed Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, or Emily J. Taylor’s Hotel Magnifique.

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