What a huge amount of fun 'Crater Lake' is by Jennifer Killick! With swarms of humour and stings of horror, this a book that will cause every Year 6 child to giggle and shudder. My eleven-year-old self would be raving about this and sharing it with every child in the playground. In fact, my 'much older' self needs to rave about it too...

Lance and his friends are off on the Year 6 residential to the Crater Lake Activity Centre. But before they even arrive, a bloodstained man pleads for help from the side of the road. Something is very wrong at Crater Lake and as the lights go off, strange and horrific things start to happen. It will be up to Lance and his friends to make sense of it all and fight to survive for the sake of all humanity.  And whatever happens they must never, ever fall asleep.

'Crater Lake' is an absolute masterclass in how to use dialogue to propel a story on. Killick's ability to evoke the silly, hilarious and ultimately tender relationships between a circle of Year 6 children is utterly authentic. That coupled with a plot loaded with monsters and parasites and chases makes for a compelling and hugely entertaining read. This appeals to me having grown up with the 'Goosebumps' and 'Point Horror' books, though this is far superior to either. What makes 'Crater Lake' more than just a funny horror story, is the satisfying arcs of each character; the way they all grow and learn throughout. A particular chapter where the friends open up about their secrets adds a whole other layer of charm and heart to an otherwise relentless, action-packed narrative. 

This is sure to be enjoyed by so many children in Year 6. I really hope that during this time of lock-downs and uncertainty this book gets into children's hands because, despite all the horror, this is a book that acts as pure escapism. Huge huge fun. Get it and tell everyone else to get it - you definitely won't fall asleep reading it!


© 2021 by Chris Soul