The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan – Seventeen-year-old Mattie is hiding her obsession with Harry Houdini and Dorothy Dietrich from everyone, including her best friend Stella. When Stella takes off to boarding school for the summer, all of Mattie’s anxieties bubble to the surface, leaving her feeling adrift. To distract herself, she seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist whose life and career were snuffed out by a tragic plane crash.
With Miyu’s help, Mattie secretly transforms herself into a burgeoning escapologist and performance artist. Away from the curious eyes of her peers, she thrives in her new world of lock picking, straitjackets, and aquarium escapes. But when Will, a popular varsity athlete from her high school, discovers her act at an underground venue, she fears that her double life is about to be exposed. But instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie something he’s never told anyone before, and the two of them find out that not all secrets can remain secret forever.
Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.
A Note From the Publisher
Erin grew up by a small glacial lake in New Hampshire and, after brief stints in Colorado and Rhode Island, she settled back in the Granite State with her husband and daughter. As a small child, she told her mother she’d defaced a wall with crayons because she’d been possessed by an imp. She’s convinced that same imp drives her to write. When she’s not at her day job or cranking out novels on her laptop, you can find her soaking in the new golden era of television, stalking her favorite musicians on Twitter, and trying not to embarrass herself on the volleyball court. She loves giant squids and the color red, hates the phrase “no offense,” and thinks birds are creepy. Once upon a time, she was a lawyer but found herself unemployed at the height of the recession. For her own sanity she started writing, and to make ends meet she took a job at a residential program for teens. The kids she met there will forever serve as a well of inspiration for the contemporary YA she writes.
While reading the synopsis, I feel very curious. This story is categorized as a romance story for Teens & YA. But in the end, there is the word “friendship”. Ok, this is probably not a story that can hold me (because I’m old enough for romance). But in fact, I was detained from the first page to the last page. It’s a torment for me as a reader.
All right, I will start with the character. Since reading the synopsis I hope to be tied to Mattie. She is the character of my dreams and is really created to be intelligent. She pursues her dream to become an artist and starts to study with Miyu. Miyu has run away from the past. Mattie idolized Miyu’s parents who became talented artists. And from where the story begins. Mattie worked hard to achieve her dreams. She is not easy to cry even though it is actually crybaby. Miyu became one of the closed characters, although she was not quiet. I was a bit worried about her, but everything changed when I found a small note. The note shows the story of Miyu’s mother, Akiko Miyake. All written before and after a terrible plane crash. I think this is what makes Miyu’s character alive and unreadable as extra characters only.
Then Will’s character can’t make me look at her. He’s a very impressive character, only I can’t stand with Will. And to be honest, I also do not like the style of speech even though it can make me laugh. Then another thing that keeps this book holding me down is the storyline. At some point, I find it very funny, and the debate of the character goes well. Then I feel a little confused but still can walk straight. I was affected by the thrilling scenes. At that time, I could not drink coffee and just read it. In some shaky narratives, I tried to calm down. And other scenes on some characters have really gained attention only. It seems unlikely that this romance book has no message.
After I finished reading it, I felt like I did not want to be anyone. So Erin Callahan has made a very striking character. But I am aware that each of these characters has a history of departure or to escape. Mattie who wants to escape from the various pressures and find her identity on the run. Then Will wants to get away from involvement with everyone and Miyu who wants to let go of the past. Of course, as a human being, I have also experienced feelings like these characters.
I will be honest, that this book is very worthy. You should read it, regardless of how old you are now. I highly recommend this book because it can be a stunning debut, very detailed, very funny and very lively. Thanks to Erin Callahan and Amberjack Publishing, who have sent this soft copy through NetGalley.