Cover Image: The Lake

The Lake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

3.5/5 I absolutely love Natasha Preston. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. Overall, I really liked the idea of the book as a whole. But for me it unfortunately it wasn't one of my favorites. 

The book started off strong and I was dying to know the secret! It took a LONG time to eventually figure it it. There were pieces here and there that eventually all fit together. The middle of the book definitely had a lull and I wish the secret was a bit MORE. 

The characters were definitely likable, and I enjoyed having their secrets unravel. Preston is notorious for leaving the ending of her books with a massive 'BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT???' she didn't disappoint with this one! The ending did seem to have a few plot holes that could be poked but overall I liked how everything was set up and how it eventually concluded. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was exceptionally hard for me to sink my teeth into. There is a great deal of extraneous information included that tends to drag the story down. The characters are still childlike even when they became CITs. 

I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley and this is my voluntary, honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advanced copy, of this book from the publisher through, netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I enjoyed all the characters in the story. I enjoyed how it is set in a summer camp in Texas. Natasha Preston is a great author. I can't wait to read more books by this author in the future. I never would have thought that character did it.  I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This book will be in stores on March 2, for $10.99 (USD).
Was this review helpful?
2.5 Stars

I received a free e-ARC of The Lake thanks to GetUnderlined and Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

I was really excited to read this book. The synopsis sounded so intriguing, and I am a sucker for a good thriller.

We follow Esme as she joins her friend Kayla and returns to Camp Pine Lake, this time as counselor trainees instead of campers. Despite the fun she can’t wait to have, Esme is haunted by her past at camp. She and Kayla have a buried secret from their time spent there as children. But when someone starts terrorizing the camp, Esme learns that some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

This was my first book by Preston and I went into it with high hopes. I’m pretty creeped out by lakes, so a thriller set at a camp on the lake seemed like the perfect read. Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to my expectations.

The characters felt pretty one-dimensional. I didn’t get a good sense of any of them enough for me to relate to any of them. The relationships between them felt forced. It also seemed odd to me because there seemed to be an awful lot of time for the counselors to be off on their own, which makes me wonder who was looking after the campers? 

The end felt abrupt. I went to turn to the next chapter and…..there wasn’t one. I feel like we had so much build up the entire book, we should have gotten more than what we did for that ending. I wish that we had more twists and turns in the story, too, instead of having the guessing game taken from us near the beginning.

Although this book wasn't a hit for me, I will be checking out Preston's other works.
Was this review helpful?
The Lake was a gripping YA thriller/mystery that perfectly emulated the feeling of spending the summer at camp- only this time with a mysterious stalker and potentially dangerous secrets added to the mix of the usual campfires and cookouts. 
Esme and Kayla are best friends who once attended Camp Pine Lake as children who decide to return as counselors for the summer before college. Unfortunately the summer isn't only filled with sneaking into town after the campers have fallen asleep or flirting with the other counselors; Esme and Kayla experienced something at Camp Pine Lake when they were children that has kept them away until now. Unfortunately they have not waited long enough, and their secrets begin to come up again in the form of mysterious events that start happening around the camp that test Esme and Kayla's friendship and threaten the safety of everyone at camp. 
Preston's novel was relatively well=paced throughout the book but the ending felt a tad rushed. The stakes would have felt higher if we had gotten to slow down a bit and really take in everything that occurs in the last 40 pages or so. I am curious to see if there will be a sequel since the ending was definitely a cliffhanger. 
I would recommend The Lake to anyone who enjoys a fast read, misses the feeling of summer camp, or enjoys movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer- or any combination of the three.
Was this review helpful?
I think this is by far one of my favorite books by Natasha Preston. The book actually gives me nostalgia since it reminds me of something R. L. Stine or Christopher Pike would write. 
There's only one thing that bothers and that's how the main character thinks she can take matters in her own hands when she's clearly out of her element. No only that but she's putting a lot of campers at risk. But I get it. Teens are stubborn and thinks that nothing can happen to them. I know that's what I was like. 
The story line really keeps your attention and I'm not saying that lightly. I love thrillers but it seems as of late that a young adult thriller can either keep my attention or not even though I absolutely love young adult. And OMG that ending! I love a thriller/horror with a good shock factor. I can kind of see the ending making a lot of readers mad but those are the ones I love.
I can't wait to read more books by Natasha!
Was this review helpful?
2 1/2 Stars

I was quite excited when I read the premise for The Lake, but overall this didn’t work for me. Preston didn’t really add anything exciting or new to the “killer at summer camp” trope, and worse the characters were so one dimensional that I couldn’t summon up the energy to care about any of them. Most of the action was in the last few chapters, and there was a twist at the end I enjoyed, but by then it was too little too late.
Was this review helpful?

This was just not my jam. 

I should probably preface this: Anyone who is working on tag lines for their novels needs to be careful about giving your readers expectations and then not delivering on them. When this author is described as "the undisputed queen of YA thriller" and someone like Karen McManus is under the same publisher— it is kind of a lot to tout, and definitely makes someone like me, who reads a lot of the genre, look at things more critically because I want to be wowed. 

Because here is me. Disputing. 

The Lake is indeed a YA thriller as it claims. But it wasn't an easy one to connect to, it was oddly paced, and frankly, I couldn't find a character to connect to. They barely had relationships between themselves, let alone anything for me to cling to as a reader. This honestly made it an odd and stilted experience. Upsetting, as I thought the cover was both eerie and beautiful and set an entirely different tone than the one that is created at the beginning of the book. The limits placed upon the actual danger left any of the potential risings of stakes to fall flat. 

This ending was truly bizarre. It did not feel like an ending. The "reveal" that is the bread and butter of any good thriller was so intensely disappointing I almost put the book down entirely. (but I have had many a thriller redeem itself at the end, so I pressed on) and instead, I was left completely bereft. I won't leave spoilers here, but all we are left with is implications and half-formed resolutions. 

My thanks to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for granting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. It was certainly an interesting ride.
Was this review helpful?
Best friends Esme and Kayla are back at Camp Pine Lake as counselors in training, and Esme is delighted to be back in a place where she loved being a camper. But Esme and Kayla have a secret. The last time they were at Camp Pine Lake, something terrible happened. Something they never told anyone about. But there is one person out there who knows what they did, and they want Esme and Kayla to come clean. They want them to suffer for what they did. They might even want them to die. The lake never forgets. I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Random House/Delacorte Press. Trigger warnings: character death (on-page), animal death (on-page), some blood/gore, abduction, fire, guns, severe injury, ableism, gaslighting, threats.

I didn’t care for The Cabin, but after The Lost had some minor improvements, I thought I might learn to like Preston’s novels, but no. I’m pretty done with them, and I can’t believe I read this many. The Lake commits one of the biggest sins of a horror novel in being totally, relentlessly boring. It’s hamstrung by its very premise, which is that creepy things are happening at camp–but they can’t be too threatening or dangerous because then they’d send the kids home! Urgh. That prevents anything interesting from happening for 95% of the book. The gaslighting is pedestrian, and even the worst slasher movie probably has more suspense (or at least corny special effects). Just as bad, we’re told right from the beginning who the antagonist is and what their motivation is, and there are no twists whatsoever on that premise.

I don’t know Esme well enough to hate her, and she’s just as boring as everything else about this book. Her main personality trait seems to be anxiety and conspiracy theories, and her best friend relationship with Kayla is as underdeveloped and underused as they are in the rest of Preston’s novels. (Since when are best friends just, like, placeholders instead of people we actually know well and trust?) Sad attempts at romance. Sad attempts at making new friends. Sad attempts at gaslighting a bunch of vapid camp counselors. Vaguely offensive/ableist attempts at providing a believable backstory for a villain, who was both abused and disfigured in a fire. Pathetic excuse for a shock ending with no effort to work through any of the issues. It’s like Preston is ripping off all the campy paperback horror novels of the 90s without actually learning anything from their missteps.

I review regularly at
Was this review helpful?
Natasha Preston has done it yet again! It is no secret that Natasha Preston is one of my favorite authors, and I devour her books. If you are looking for a twisty, psychological, young adult thriller, she is the author for you. 

This book starts off with Kayla and Esme heading to summer camp as counselors in training. Can you think of a better setting for a creepy book than in the middle of the woods? While the synopsis of the book talks about Kayla and Esme as the main characters, Esme is definitely the one in the spotlight, and Kayla was a bit underdeveloped. This book has a large cast of characters, and took me a little bit to get into for that reason. I also thought a good chunk of the book, specifically the middle, was a bit repetitive. Once I hit 75% though the tables turned, and I couldn't read the pages fast enough.

At this point we know that Preston gives us surprise endings that we would never predict, and this book is no different. I knew the ending would make me want to scream, and be infuriated. I love Preston's books for this reason, I know what I am getting, but I am still surprised. 

Overall, I recommend this book if you like young adult thrillers. I can't wait for the next thriller she writes!
Was this review helpful?
I had so many other books I needed to read. However, every time I would pick one up, I would start thinking about The Lake and let my mind wonder about what was going to happen. The story itself is intriguing and draws you in.

I liked Esme’s sarcasm. Her comments and quips were definitely the same comment so would have made as well. I laughed because I would make a side comment and then she would actually say it on the next sentence. 

Did y’all ever watch Light as a Feather on Hulu? This kind of gave me the same vibes during the beginning. I went back and forth about who was causing all the sinister things at camp, and I finally just gave up and enjoyed the ride.

I felt the ending was so action packed and fast that I didn’t really have time to process it all. I personally enjoyed the ending, but I feel some will feel it’s open ended.

Thank you Delacorte Press for the gifted copy. The Lake is out March 2nd!
Was this review helpful?
Another great mystery/thriller by Ms. Preston! This one is sure to be a hit because hello? Lake secrets! It's always interesting to dig up the past.
Was this review helpful?
I live in the southern United States, in a land where blisteringly cold weather is as fantastical as orcs and dragons. Until now. We’re in the middle of this crazy winter storm, and I don’t know how to cope with these temperatures. So, I thought I’d grab every blanket I own and cuddle up with something that would help me escape the frost. 

Enter Natasha Preston’s The Lake. I read the synopsis and saw the words “summer camp.” Bingo. 

I settled in for a engrossing story of two teen girls who return to a camp they visited when they were much younger. In true thriller fashion, something awful happened all those years ago, and now someone knows what they did. 

I eat stories like this up, and this one did not disappoint. As soon as I finished the first page, I was in. I was there. I was warm. I was also a little unsettled by the fact that characters kept mentioning the forest and telling me that there was “nothing scary in the woods.” Sure thing, guys, sure thing. 

If you’re looking for something fun for teens and adults alike, The Lake is a great choice. It certainly left me turning the pages so quickly that I entirely forgot my dreary surroundings. This was such an exciting “dark and stormy night” read. 

Was this review helpful?
This one is kind of tough for me to review.  On the one hand, I found this to be a fast-paced, heart-in-your-throat thriller with non-stop action that kept the obsessively turning the pages.  I love a book that takes place at a creepy summer camp that this one ticked all of the right boxes for me:  sinister setting, ominous warnings, dark secrets, and an unknown villain.  I loved how the story when from an intriguing mystery to a  climatic, heart-pounding game of cat and mouse.  I thought the suspense was relentless and enjoyed how the book’s secrets unfurled a little at a time.

But….worst…ending….ever.  I was caught up in the story right until it ended mid-scene, in the middle of the climax.  It’s like the author simply forgot to conclude the story. It was utterly unsatisfying, with no resolution.  This would have been a 4 or 5 star read for me, but the cliffhanger non-ending ruined any goodwill the author had created.  I know many people don’t mind ambiguous or cliffhanger endings.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.  But if you don’t mind abrupt endings, then you may enjoy The Lake as it is truly a gripping, suspenseful tale.
Was this review helpful?
This book is perfect for anyone who loves a good “I Know What You Did Last Summer” style thriller. 

Esme and Kayla return to their childhood camp as CIT’s after 10 years. But they didn’t return on their own will, they were threatened into it. 10 years earlier, the girls had a mishap in the forest, where a girl may or may not have been hurt. They aren’t really sure.

What becomes abundantly clear after a few days at camp, and a few mysterious and creepy messages, is that something did happen in the forest when they were younger and now that person wants them to pay. 

The Lake is a fun, YA, mystery/thriller that kept me turning the pages to see how everything would unfold. I do wish there was a bit more development around Lillian’s story and the events that unfolded that night. 

I’m also not sure if this is a stand alone book or meant to be continued as a series. If its a stand alone, then I am very disappointed about the ending being so abrupt and honestly unfinished.
Was this review helpful?
Ugh this one was rough for me. The writing in this felt so middle-grade I had to go back and check to see how it was being packaged. Esme as a narrator sounds sophomorish and irritating and Kayla seemed equally unlikable. I ended up skimming the last 60% or so because the story was so unsatisfying and unrealistic. This whole book revolves around 2 eight year olds making a mistake and another one seeking revenge 9 years later. Maybe I don’t remember being 8 *that* much but I certainly don’t believe I was that spiteful. The ending was a cop out. I know it was intentional but with absolutely no resolution it made the whole thing even more unsatisfying. I would recommend skipping this one.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this book pretty blind and came out with my eyes opened to a new-to-me author whose books I want to binge read. 

The Lake tells the story of Kayla and Esme, two teen girls who are returning to their childhood camp, but this time as counselors. They attended this camp when they were 7 and 8 years old, but never returned because of something horrible that happened. What unfolds as they get reacquainted with the camp is the stuff nightmares are made of. 

Kayla and Esme vowed never to talk of the horrible thing that happened when they were kids, but it seems that someone else knows their secret and is trying to get them to talk. The mystery person goes sneaking around camp leaving creepy notes, causing damage to the cabins, and flat out scaring the campers and counselors alike. Kayla and Esme are torn on leaving camp, confessing, and trying to confront the creepy camp stalker. What happens is they confess? Will they go to jail? What if they leave? Do they put other counselors and campers at risk? And what if they confront the stalker? Is he out for revenge? Does he want to hurt them? What does he want? And why ten years later? 

This book had me hooked from pretty early on. I loved that the chapters were short, like 10 pages or less, which I always think makes a book fly by. Each chapter also felt like it was a cliffhanger, which of course made me want to read another one... and another one... and another one... 

The great thing about YA thrillers is that I get to feel like a detective. I always think I have it figured out, who did what, etc. and I had many theories this time too. One theory was so glaringly obvious it couldn’t possibly have been right. Or could it? I went back and forth on who the camp stalker was so many times that at one point I thought every single character was somehow involved. While I had one theory that was partially right, I was way off on a lot of other things that happened in this story. I couldn’t believe the twists and turns this book took, and I was pretty surprised at the ending. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to happen, which made it even better in my opinion. 

You need to pick this one up! It’s a quick read, has plenty of twists and turns, lots of surprises, and just overall a tense and heart pounding tale.

5 stars from me, recommended to anyone who loves fast paced YA thrillers!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House/Delacorte Press.

I'm still torn on my thoughts with this book.  I usually enjoy Natasha Preston's books, but this one for me didn't work.  for me.  I felt like the characters were not as developed as they could have been and the pace was sort of all over the place for me. 

However, that being said, the story was interesting and it did keep my attention, but it didn't generate the strong reaction that her others books had generated in me.
Was this review helpful?
I’m genuinely not sure who the audience is for this book but it’s not me. I tried to give it a chance but the book just pushes the envelope of believability and I just couldn’t. I tried to skim it to the “reveal” of whatever the main characters had done but I just couldn’t do it. DNF.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars, but I always round up if the book hasn't been released yet. Would've been higher if it weren't for the ending. 

*slight spoiler warning*

Esme Randal and Kayla Price are returning to Camp Pine Lake to be CITs, but are haunted by a traumatic event from ten years ago that they blame themselves for. In the beginning, everything seems fine, but it's not long before they start receiving threatening messages and campers begin reporting a mysterious stranger watching them. Esme is sure that the other girl who was with them ten years ago wants to get her revenge, but Kayla just wants to enjoy the summer. Until the incidents become too obvious to ignore.
I always mention how we need more YA thrillers that take place at summer camps, but the ones I've read have all been pretty disappointing. (The last one I read was Nobody Knows But You, which had the most boring "reveal" of all time.) I was sure that The Lake wasn't going to disappoint, but about halfway through, I started to get extremely suspicious of Kayla herself. She never wanted to go investigate with Esme, she would have access to cabin keys, and obviously, she knew about the secret. I was dreading the moment when it would be revealed that it was her all along, but thankfully that didn't happen. The antagonist was exactly who Esme thought it was, but there are several characters who also look like suspects (mostly Rebekah and Olly,) so it isn't bland or boring at all.
The way Esme kept talking about her secret made it sound like she'd murdered someone in cold blood, so I was also disappointed about what it turned out to be. (She and her friends accidentally started a fire, and ran away before they could make sure the last girl was okay. No one died, and no camp property was destroyed.) There's Someone Inside Your House did this as well, with something even milder. I guess I was expecting it to be like in Pretty Little Liars, where the girls pushed another girl off a cliff and killed her. 
Now, onto the worst: the ENDING. I've heard people say the same things about this author's other books, so I don't know what I was expecting. I know that some people like when the endings are like this, but I am not one. I like to know exactly what happens, with resolution and consequences. We didn't see that here. It essentially ended at a climax. Multiple people are likely dead, Esme is alone and could possibly be killed soon (I won't spoil anything else), and it just ends there. It felt like I was reading a book with several missing chapters. We don't see reactions from the campers or head counselor. I've never seen Natasha Preston write a sequel, but now I REALLY want one. I don't care if I have to wait years. I just want to know how everything is resolved.
Was this review helpful?