Sam knows that he and his friend Lloyd made a colossal mistake when they accepted the ride home. They have ended up in a dark mansion in the middle of nowhere with man who means to harm them. But Sam doesn't know how to get them out. They were trapped, then separated. Now they are alone. Will either of them get out alive?
The cover of The Long Weekend was what first attracted me to this book – it looked creepy, atmospheric and scary. Having finished, I can say it is definitely all those things – but there is no supernatural in this book. This is a story that could really happen – and that is what makes it truly terrifying. There are no ghosts, vampires, zombies or werewolves. No magic. No monsters – apart from us humans.
Sam is only 12 years old and the book is told from his point of view. As such the writing feels at times childish and simplistic, which is a great juxtaposition to events that unfold as the story continues. Sam is instantly likeable, being the new kid at school recently befriended by the popular Lloyd. He starts the novel very much as the follower, naive and impressionable, but as the story processes he matures, learns to stand up for himself and for Lloyd. It isn’t always easy – for Sam or for us to read, but the whole time you are rooting for him and willing him on. In fact I spent most of the book gripping the pages, desperate for Sam and Lloyd to be okay. The lack of supernatural works very much in the books favour, making you truly terrified of events while with supernatural threats part of you always knows it’s not real.
While there is nothing explicit in the story, the implied actions and reading behind the lines would not make this book suitable for young teens – definitely one for the older crowd. And one story I would recommend that everyone reads – its not long only 180 page or so, but it will stay with you long after the final page has closed.
Recommended for fans of Rachel Ward and Patrick Ness. 8.5 out of 10.