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The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan

The Art of Escaping

by Erin Callahan

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Oh, how I do NOT miss high school!

I really enjoyed this book - It is so fun, and kept me entertained throughout the whole thing! There were some seriously nail-biting moments with daredevil Mattie, and I can totally see this becoming a movie that I would go see in a second!

Mattie is a high school junior who has some pretty quirky aspirations of becoming an escapologist. She's obsessed with Houdini and the like, but especially Akiko - an elite escapologist gone way before her time. But Mattie is determined to find Akiko's daughter and find out as much as she can. All the while, no-0ne in her life knows her secrets or desires to become this really cool performance artist. Not her parents or her family, or even her best, closest friend.

The story also has some snippets of Akikos past, the life she led, and the birth of her daughter, giving you some insight of the life of this mysterious performer and her equally closed-off daughter. We also meet Will, another one with some secrets, and several other really cool high school kids who are so well-developed, mature but fun. It pains me to think of how tough high school was, and how hard it is for kids just t be themselves.

The art of escapology is front and center, through training and Mattie's stage performances that literally have you holding your breath! But the art of escape is evident is other ways, with a lot of hiding from reality and fear of being found out.

This book is such a delight and hope it gets the attention it deserves. ( )
  Bookapotamus | Jun 27, 2018 |

First off, can I just say that even just the premise of this book is so entertaining? This story follows Mattie who in the summer before her senior year gets involved in her secret love for escapology and develops a secret identity for herself as a performer. When someone from her school finds out her secret, she thinks her world is going to crumble but it turns out that he has a secret of his own. The book is just so full of quirky characters, the problems that come with graduating, and the importance of standing out and embracing your passions.

It was so refreshing to see such an exciting interest being explored and I think overlapped really well with the discomfort the Mattie feels by being different in her high school. I really enjoyed this book.

There were so many good parts and meaningful moments throughout the story! I started off by writing down all the bits that I connected with and by the end I had so many pages just full of quotes. Honestly, books that focus so much on finding your identity and learning to deal with the difference between high school and university usually end up leaving me feeling unfulfilled. But this book managed to tie everything off so well. Mattie is really well developed, grows a lot as a character as she learns how to deal with her anxieties and insecurities, and actually feels real . Also the descriptions of her escapology acts were so cool, I don't know how accurate they were but they were so much fun to read about.

I really enjoyed this book. I gotta say it was a bit of a slow start for me, or rather it took me a while to properly enjoy it. The characters are fun and unique but honestly I hated one of them for the majority of the book. When he was just in the scenes narrated by Mattie it wasn't too bad but in the couple of chapters from his point of view oh my GOD. The tricky thing with writing very unique and different characters is that there is a fine line by depicting it as just uniqueness vs. superiority for being unique. They all did find the "average" person's interests very trivial which is fine but he came off as feeling so above everyone else just because he didn't care about what they did. Also in one chapter he kept pulling the "not like other girls" trope which I honestly thought we were past at this point. He did get better but nevertheless he just left a pretty bad impression on me. It was such a "i'm different and i'm so superior because of that" that I literally could not handle. Just go enjoy your jazz my dude

But yeah aside from that little rant, he got much better as a character. And the whole unique aspect wasn't annoying(?) which I was very surprised by. Mattie's uniqueness didn't annoy me at all since it was a lot more oriented towards following your passion and finding happiness in your differences, which I actually really ended up enjoying. Also the descriptions of her escapology acts were so freaking cool, I don't know how accurate they were but they were so much fun to read about.

In the end, very entertaining and very worthwhile.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ( )
  caffeinatedreads | Jun 18, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought the format was weird with the texts between Mattie and Will at the very beginning but I went back and read that part again after finishing the book so now their conversation makes a lot more sense. I really learned a lot about escapologists and escapology. I loved going on Mattie’s journey with her while she learned how to perform her escape tricks. I enjoyed the parts from the miary as they called it. I was glad she made friends with Will with two L’s. I enjoyed watching their friendship bloom and her performing giving him the courage to finally come out of the closet to his family and to his girlfriend. I would love to read a sequel about their life in college and beyond. ( )
  DKnight0918 | May 31, 2018 |
High school senior Mattie is fascinated by Houdini and the art of escaping, so when her only and best friend is gone for the summer, Mattie tracks down the agoraphobic daughter of a famous escapologist and convinces her to become her trainer. As Mattie becomes a successful performer at a quirky local club, she keeps her passion a secret, both because she knows her parents wouldn't allow it and because of what her high school classmates would think. Meanwhile, the story of Will unfolds, also revolving around a secret. A well-liked basketball jock and boyfriend of a popular girl, Will is actually gay and a serious thinker. Fortunately Mattie's and Will's stories collide, and they enable each other to deal with their secrets and anxieties. Interspersed between the Mattie and Will chapters are excerpts from the famous escapologist's diary/miary. The three different voices are well-defined, and the transitions are not at all annoying. As a matter of fact, the first person narrations are smart, funny, and thought provoking, and I found this novel refreshing and enjoyable, and much as I liked the ending I was disappointed when I finished it. ( )
  sleahey | Mar 24, 2018 |
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