Book Review – ‘Survive the Night’ by Danielle Vega

A surprising read of rock chick goodness and terror in abandoned railway tunnels!

Survive the Night Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Horror

No. of pages: 263

From Goodreads:

We’re all gonna die down here…

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse…

…until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

 Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Survive the Night’ is like a teen horror flick – a gathering of rebellious youths track down an underground rave, get isolated and then picked off one by one. It’s a campy, scary, short book (fast read) and I felt like the story was only half way through when it ended… because I wanted more.

This girl was impressed with the cast of characters – nobody was perfect, and each had their own story to tell. A great way to draw the reader into the book!

Survive the Night Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgCasey (our protagonist and the novel is told through her point of view) is recovering addict who is slowly coming to terms with her illness and is taking responsibility for her condition and rectifying her life. It was nice to see how Casey’s perceptions, on and off drugs, shows an unreliable narrator at times. It added to the suspense and tension. I’d be dropping a load in my underwear if caught in abandoned underground tunnels with something hunting us in the dark.

The rest of her friends joining her for the adventure: Sam, the typical gorgeous lead singer type, has a great character arc well worth the read. Shana, the annoying druggy (passive aggressive) mean girl you love to hate. She had the most interesting personal journey of all.

And then we have Aya, the innocent (of sorts); Woody, the grungy musician; and Julie, the boy loving victim that sets off the chain of events… It has been a very long while since I’ve read such a diverse cast of personalities that felt so organic in the narrative. For this alone I highly recommend you give this book a go.

I liked how there were urban legends around previous disappearances in the tunnels that this group find the rave in after an extensive egg-hunt. The ‘big bad’ reveal was fun (a bit silly) but still scary and monstrous. I was shuddering and pulling my legs up onto the couch in several places – a sign of a well written book. There are only a few authors who have forced a physical fear response from me when reading.

Survive the Night’ is predictable on the most part as far as plot goes – who survives and who doesn’t – my initial thoughts were proven right; but I was thrown towards the end and changed my mind. Vega’s narrative lead me to a different conclusion, and then snatched it away. Loved that she had me questioning myself.

Such a fun exhilarating read. Vega’s writing style is punchy, cool and full of pop culture as you would expect from a YA horror. I would have rated it higher if there was more complexity in the story and less predictability.

Can I mention the cover art! I bought the hard cover and was struck by the design, bright colours, mixed with a skull covered in glitter- it so sums up the tone of the novel. Love the tactile feel of it too! A blurb on the back quotes “Page-to-page Stephen King style terror” and I’d have to agree.

I was a little confused at some of the low ratings I’ve seen this book get – it’s nothing other than what it states to be. A strong favourite for me.

Overall feeling: this gif of a baby sums up my reading experience…


Survive the Night Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle


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