THE GETAWAY by LAMAR GILES
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
Apologies for the extended absence, dear readers. For my first review back, I want to discuss The Getaway by Lamar Giles, which is pitched as Disney World gone wrong. Very, very wrong. I was immediately intrigued by the cover of the book, and when I read the description, I knew I had to pick it up. Our main characters, Jay, Connie, Zeke, and Seychelle, all live in a luxury vacation resort called Karloff Country…the funnest place in the world! Karloff Country is home to amusement parks, five star hotels, fancy restaurants, and Jubilee, the residential area for the park’s “helpers.” The resort is also self-sustaining, with vertical farms and its own water treatment plants. Set in a near-future sci-fi world, Karloff Country has an Amazon Echo-like device called Sandrina that controls everything–from the lights in your house to the lock on your doors.
When Connie and her family mysteriously disappear one night, the funnest place on earth becomes an absolute nightmare for Jay and his friends. Especially when the Trustees appear, the mega-rich contributors to Karloff’s fortune. Jay and his friends must find Connie and figure out a way to survive the now-deadly Karloff Country before it’s too late.
Combining dystopian elements with near future sci-fi, The Getaway is a book that is both terrifying and very timely. Now, I’ve never been to Disney World myself but it’s obvious Karloff Country was inspired by it. Jay and his friends–all employees of the resort–are Black kids and deal with racism from the Trustees as well as grappling with the new surveillance state they find themselves in. Giles does an amazing job of juggling all these important topics–racism, colorism, the right to privacy (or lack thereof)–classism–while also making this book hugely entertaining. It’s one part social commentary, two parts dystopia, and three parts thriller. Once I started reading, I was captivated by the story and couldn’t stop turning the pages.
The plot never really lets up and there are no moments in the book where I felt like it lagged. I liked all our characters–though I found that sometimes the random perspective jumping didn’t help the story–and Seychelle was especially interesting, as the biracial heir to the Karloff family fortune. If I had any complaint about this book, it’s that I wish we got more of her. That’s just a small quibble, however, and it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.
As a side note…the ending of this book is a little nuts and I loved it. I won’t spoil it here, but you’ll need to read the book to find out for yourself.
You can pick up The Getaway at the Oreana Library today!