Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Review: The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan


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 Short Version:
Intense and gripping, The Long Weekend packs a powerful punch despite the relatively short length of the book. Getting quickly to the main action, and having a constant sense of urgency, Kalhan expertly handles not only the gritty events but nails the characterization. Portraying both the terror and urge to survive, this one most definitely pulls the reader in as though they are taken captive right alongside Sam and Lloyd.

The Extended Version:
Sam is an incredibly brave character, smart and cunning in a way both consistent with his age and forced by the extreme circumstances he finds himself in. Showing plenty of fear and weakness, and constantly lying to himself about what is happening if only as a weak defense mechanism, there is an incredibly realistic note to this eleven year old protagonist. He makes very impressive strides in growth and development, and the boy we meet at the end of the book is understandably very different from that at the start. The change in his mindset and actions changes very well, triggered by events both large and small. The way he faces things, interprets things, and hides things from himself is handled with ease.

Lloyd suffers in a way different than Sam, therefore driving his growth and development in a different way. His fear is shockingly palpable, despite a barrier between him and the reader, and his part in the story is even more heartbreaking and painful than Sam’s. He helps as much as he hinders, and his internal drives are sometimes hard to see but there nevertheless, however subtly.

The kinship between these two boys is strong from the start, despite the short time they’ve known each other. The reasons they end up being abducted is terrifying but understandable, an honestly simple mistake with drastic consequences. Despite the growing sense of unease and the hints of what is to come, both boys have a very age appropriate reaction to their situation and the events that come at them. Sam’s drive for survival is both brave and worthy of praise, and even though he does have his moments of wanting to just give up, he finds a way to keep going. Even when he’s having to single-handedly save Lloyd, he continues to persevere. With soft messages like this present throughout, there is a powerful overall effect that comes from reading this book.

Despite coming out of the UK, the language in this book has a very easy readability for Americans with only a little friction at the start before getting fully into it. Not heavy on the slang, and still holding the YA voice many of us expect, The Long Weekend is well written and true to the ages of the character while still gracefully handling older content. The plot has a very steady pace, infusing emotion and a sense of terror and urgency throughout while still giving both the reader and characters a breather at the right times.

Though written in third person, The Long Weekend focuses primarily on the thoughts and actions of Sam and easily puts the reader in his head. The reasons for this are clear, both in forming a connection with the reader and as events with Lloyd unfold. With a climax that is well built up, and smoothly traversed, and wrapping everything up in a way that fits with the plot, The Long Weekend catalogs one weekend of terror that will still with not only the characters but the reader as well.

Source: Received from author in exchange for honest review
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Andersen
Publication Date: 2 Oct 2008

1 comment:

  1. This sounds so heart-pounding! (and it's in third person? how curious...) I'm off to add this on my GR! Thanks for the fantastic review, Kari ;)