Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for giving a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Perfect Escape
Author: Suzanne Park
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Expected release date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Length: 336 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?
Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and Kate needs the money too.
If the two of them team up, Nate has a true shot at winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…”
I wanted so much more from this book. It’s a quick, cute, and easy read, but things felt rushed and sloppily put together. I felt like we didn’t get enough time with Nate and Kate together for them to develop feelings for one another so quick. Despite that I did like both of them as the main characters. I felt really bad for Kate and her broken relationship with her father and how he was pushing his expectations on her and didn’t give a flying flip about she wanted. I have righteous anger about that, and I’m glad Kate was able to make her own way and be independent.
I wanted more of Kate and Raina’s friendship. They’re obviously good friends and as the story progresses we see how Raina played an important role but there’s not a lot of backstory there. Nate’s friendship with Zach and Jaxon were casual and cool, and you could tell they’re a tight knit group of friends. I really like that as well.
I keep thinking back to all the parts that simply needed more and what felt rushed. The whole confession Nate’s dad did at the end kind of felt out-of-the-blue considering the setting. Despite the whole Korean thing about not talking about feelings or asking questions, I thought this moment would have been a good time for Nate’s dad to break that mold and have a moment. But again, it simply felt rushed.
I thought the zombie survival contest thing would carry a bit more substance. We don’t really know much about it outside of the prize money but when we arrive there we see it’s really a big deal, and isn’t just some national competition but rather international. A lot more explaining and detail could have happened here but it—and other settings—felt a little lackluster.
Despite how rushed things felt, when Nate and Kate did acknowledge their feelings it was really cute and left me thinking that they have a lot of potential together in the future (which is a plus in my book)!