Review: Neal Shusterman’s Full Tilt

Full Tilt is an exploration of teenage sibling relationships and what happens when a theme park decides to come to life and absorb its visitors like a horrific mechanical sponge. Both of these topics are a wonderful basis for a young adult novel.

Older brother Blake and younger brother Quinn are exact opposites. Blake is the quintessential older sibling, responsible and down-to-Earth. Most of his time is spent keeping Quinn under control and holding their family together. Taking care of Quinn is a hard task, however, because oftentimes his daredevil personality takes him too close to the metaphorical ledge. However, Quinn goes way over the line when he drags the two of them to a dangerous phantom carnival that ensnares its customers for eternity.

In order to escape the carnival, Quinn and Blake must survive seven deadly rides by sunrise. Each of the rides represents a deep, personal fear. From a stampeding carousel to a hall of mirrors that physically deforms onlookers, there is no end to the horrific creativity of this theme park. If the carnival doesn’t claim their souls first, Blake will eventually have to own up to his biggest secret to save himself and his brother.

This book is captivating. While it made me side-eye Six Flags for a few years, it’s definitely worth the terror. Blake and Quinn’s brotherly love is incredibly sweet, and the pacing of the novel makes it hard to set down. With cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, Full Tilt will keep you on its wild ride!

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