This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!The Art of Escaping Erin Callahan
Published by Amberjack Publishing on June 19, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Seventeen-year-old Mattie has a hidden obsession: escapology. Emphasis on hidden. If anyone from school finds out, she’ll be abandoned to her haters. Facing a long and lonely summer, Mattie finally seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist. Following in Houdini’s footsteps, Miyu helps Mattie secretly transform herself into an escapologist and performance artist.
When Will, a popular athlete from school, discovers Mattie’s act at an underground venue, Mattie fears her secret persona will be exposed. Instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie a secret not even his girlfriend knows. Through a blossoming friendship, the two must find a way to express their authentic selves.
Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.
Hold on a second while I scream in my corner about how I am finally on time to write a review before a book actually releases. Just barely, but you know, it’s still relatively on time. 😱
Maybe it’s because I’ve decided to give up on the four books that have been there since 2016 and reset my priorities.
Okay, back on topic.
The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan is a book that Roberta first introduced to me in sometime in a year far ago and honestly? Well, let’s find out.
A Few Things About The Art of Escaping
Erin Callahan’s latest novel is about escapology, and maybe the title explains what escapology is, but there’s probably multiple layers of meaning with the title aside from literally. (I approve of this approach.)
But here: I almost DNFed this one. But I wanted to know the end, so curiosity got better of me.
Multiple POVs was meh but okay.
The Art of Escaping is told in two views: Mattie and Will. Three, if you count diary entries as an intermission between chapters. I’m not against multiple views and maybe I was tired, but I struggled sometimes with this one.
There were times where it felt like the story was being told right now as it is happening, and then there were times where it felt the story was being told by a future version of the characters. And then there were times the story kind of repeated itself, then went onwards. 🤷🏻♀️
Occasionally I liked a line or two. Or three.
There are some great one-liners in here, but a lot of the writing I glossed over. To be honest, sometimes I was bored and maybe it was just me in a very bad time (I felt like doing nothing for the past few weeks if my lack of posts say anything).
But I was also reading another book, and it was more interesting? Lack of motivation did nothing there. So maybe I’m not the only one who felt meh about the writing.
There is NO romance.
Well, not exactly. There are snippets here and there, but it’s not a part of the storyline, which is 11/10 okay with me because every book and its sequel has a romance somehow these days. (Am I complaining? Not really. I like books with no romance sometimes.) But the main point is, it’s not a huge plot bunny.
Friendship and sibling dynamics.
Okay, so I can live for the friendship and sibling dynamics because they were developed quite well, or at least, in the few months timeframe. The brother/sister relationship isn’t much, but the friendship is a huge part of the book for both new and old relationships. It was lovely seeing Will and Mattie grow a friendship over escapology and then bringing the other characters in.
Miyu is a precious bean.
Early on in The Art of Escaping, Callahan introduces readers to Miyu, who ends up being Mattie’s mentor who is Crabby™. Honestly though, I absolutely love Miyu – she’s a crab, but deep down, she’s a soft cookie filled with chocolate chips. Plus 95% of the best sentences in the book come from Miyu, so there is never a boring moment with her on the page.
Honestly I was hoping The Art of Escaping would be good, but there were a few things missing to make it to that level. It wasn’t a mess, but maybe a few sweeps needed.
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