Cover Image: It Looks Like Us

It Looks Like Us

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Member Reviews

Reasons to read this book:
- Casual Queer Characters
This rep, over multiple characters, is so casual that you won't even know about it for the first 3/4 of the book, because holy hell are there other things to focus on.

-Location, Location, Location
Have you ever dreamed of going to a far away place, where few people can say they've been? Yeah, these kids definitely did, and ended up in Antarctica, which I would personally love to visit under VERY DIFFERENT circumstances.

-Island of Misfit Toys
We all love a found family, and this one has a theme - everyone has something in their pasts they aren't exactly proud of, which made them apply for this expedition in the first place. Wait, could the tech billionaire who approved their involvement have known that?

-Creature Feature, Human Monster
Sure, there's a literal creature that they need to avoid (who has some anatomically incorrect things the author clearly took from Animorphs - which is actually referenced in the book, and would make Cheyenne of Novel Insights on BookTube cry in pet peeve frustration),  but there's also at least a couple humans you'll want to cause harm to because they are just the worst.

-Final Girl, or not?
We know from the beginning that our protagonist is found and is relaying what went on, but could this be another layer of this twisted plot? You'll have to read it to find out.
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I am haunted by the creepy atmosphere and unforgettable scenes in It Looks Like Us! This YA book has everything I love in a horror novel- a closed setting, a group of strangers, and something that's just not quite right from page 1. Alison Ames knows how to craft a juicy story that slowly reveals the plot. If you're looking for a twisty horror thriller, this book will check off all the boxes! Set in remote Antarctica, teenagers journey to a scientific research trip and things are off from the very beginning. Perfect to read by a cozy fire on a winter night!
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Riley is one of 5 teens chosen to work on a research project in the Antarctic for a techy billionaire who owns an electric car company… all fictional, of course 

There’s the five teens and two chaperones. And that’s ALL there is at their base. Soooo when one of the chaperones starts acting really weird, like, body twisting around and being hungry for violence kind of weird, there’s really no one to turn to. And when it seems like it’s spreading between the group, there’s nothing to do but try and outsmart it and survive - whatever IT is… 

This is one of those books you cannot put down because the action is nonstop. It would be such a cool movie but even just being on pages, it’s sooo cinematic. Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a more isolationist horror with some body horror on the side.
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This was an ok book. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. I think the premise was really interesting, but I think that some of the execution was lacking. Full disclosure: I don't get scared at fiction, so I cannot say if this book was actually scary or not. There was a lot of body horror, which is something I just don't tend to enjoy, so that didn't help. I am also just a little confused on how some things worked (including how anyone approved a group of teens to do an expedition to Antarctica, funded by a billionaire, with only one scientist chaperone?) but I tried to suspend belief for a lot of it. There is technically ace and gay rep in here, but it was kind of shoehorned in as a 'oh better make sure we get these rep points' instead of making it actually meaningful to the characters. Literally, the scene where they brought it up could have been taken out and nothing would have changed in the entire book. The writing took a little bit to get used to, and I normally like 3rd person present, so I am not sure if I just struggled with this particular book or if there was something else going on. I also wish that it was told continuously instead of throwing a couple of random chapters in where it took place after the events. And I didn't like the ending. But despite these complaints, it was a quick read, and interesting enough that I didn't want to DNF it. If you like YA horror, you probably will enjoy this one.
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A season of horror and I'm all for it. It was good. Not great, not memorable, but good. It has a lot of body horror, gore, and just imagination. 

Kids picked for a "special" camp/mission in Antarctic. The rich guy is funding, they are all running away from some problems back home, trying to re-invent themselves or deal with some grief, some tragedy, etc etc. It all seems good and nice, till they notice a being that can form and reform into other beings, and everyone around starts dying. 

Like I said, it's good, not great. There's the atmosphere - the ice cold, isolated surroundings. A very limited group of people, that eventually  you have to question if you can trust them. And then this invisible, morphing being that can turn into anything. 

It has some of the Stephen King vibes, it has a lot of gore and body horror. But it also has bickering. teenagers. Sometimes they are overachievers (aka they should probably be panicking more) and over capable.. and not enough adults in this situation.  

I liked it. It could make a good movie.
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This is a story about monsters born and made.

I loved the creature feature elements of this creepy, atmospheric story.  The tense and suspenseful sequences at the site in the Arctic had me on the edge of my seat & if I could’ve screamed for the characters to stop!  I would have.  On the other hand, the interrogation sequences worked a little less perfectly for me.

Thank you so much @pagestreetya @2furiosa for the copy! & thank you @netgalley for the eArc!
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Five teens head to Antarctica for the trip of a lifetime all on the dime of one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Seems to good to be true? Of course, it does because awaiting them in Antarctica is a monster waiting for them. This book started slow for me but then really took off and was a great one to add to your #spookyseason TBR.
I think this one would make an excellent tv series or movie! I could totally picture it all!
Thank you #NetGalley and #pagestreetpublishing for an Advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
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ur telling me this character is seen as expendable bc she has anxiety...bffr
also "Alton Rusk" as our super rich villain........pls
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3.5 Stars
Thank you to Page Street Kids and TBR Beyond Tours for an arc of this and Netgalley for an earc.

 It Looks Like Us is like a YA version of John Carpenter's The Thing! When Riley gets the opportunity to collect samples in Antarctica to help climate change, she jumps at the chance to get off the continent and away from her anxiety-filled life. With the other 4 teen volunteers, a scientist, and one of SladeTech's employees to babysit, the team begins sample collection. But then the scientist goes missing, and returns looking....not right. And everything is a horror fueled mess from then on.

This book was interesting and definitely a page-turner. Riley is an interesting character and potentially an unreliable narrator, which is fun. Everyone is really unreliable with a shape-shifting monster roaming around.

I love The Thing, so it was super fun to read a YA book with a similar premise. I do wish that Riley's asexuality and anxiety had been explored more, but I liked the descriptions, atmosphere, and body horror! 
 Content Warnings
Graphic: Confinement, Mental illness, and Body horror
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It’s fall, and you know what that means? I am officially jumping on the creepy book bandwagon. And what could be creepier than some unknown creature in the unexplored icescape of Antarctica? Well . . . very little, honestly. So I immediately knew I had to read this book. Plus, how many books are set in Antarctica?! Pretty cool.

It Looks Like Us is a chilling, spine-tingling horror set in the Antarctic. The frozen continent keeps its secrets . . . maybe a little too well. Filled with twists and turns and body horror, this one kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a pretty short book and a really fast read, especially as things start going wrong and you get into the meat of the mystery (which, honestly, doesn’t take that long). Ames doesn’t beat around the bush or waste the reader’s time. We’re thrown right into the thick of things, with an unsettling atmosphere where things just feel off. Though there are elements of the plot that are fairly predictable, and the characters aren’t especially deep, what Ames manages to capture is all the fun and thrill of staying up late and watching a “monster in the [insert setting here]” horror movie, where you’re not particularly concerned for the characters anyway; you just want some good, ol’ creepy monster action going on.

My Thoughts

- In Ames’ newest release, this group of kids sent to Antarctica don’t really know why they’re there. All they know is they’re not alone. And I don’t mean the few other research bunkers scattered across the continent, either. Ames invokes the classic “monster” trope in a new setting: the vast frozen tundra of Antarctica. What makes this work so well is the not knowing—both of what the creature is, nor what it could possibly be.

Lake Vostok is mentioned multiple times as a possible source of their problem. It’s a giant subglacial lake under Antarctica with its own unique ecosystem that, of course, scientists aren’t sure about. So sure, why not blame the giant, scary, unknown thing on the giant, scary, unknown subglacial lake? Makes sense to me!

I really enjoyed the way Ames plays with fear of the unknown to create a tense atmosphere that had me flipping quickly through pages to find the answers.

- The main character, Riley, suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks, and she sees this as a fresh start with new people (potentially future friends?). But she’s not the only member of the team with a secret. There’s a bit of mental health rep here with Riley, who was ostracized in her own life due to a massive panic attack in school that freaked out her friends and classmates. This expedition is meant to be a fresh start for her. Except . . . you know . . . giant monsters aren’t known to be great for people with severe anxiety? Riley has to rely a lot on coping mechanisms, as well as the help of her companions, to keep her anxiety from taking over.

Riley isn’t the only member of the group that consider this expedition as a fresh start, though. Everyone else on the team has their own secrets . . . and their own motives. Not all of them pure, exactly. While I don’t feel like I got to know any of these characters particularly well over the course of the book, that suited me just fine. I mean, we were in Riley’s head, and Riley doesn’t know them particularly well, either. That’s part of what makes the setting so creepy: being stuck in a confined place with strangers! Especially if you’re an introvert.

- It Looks Like Us has a very spooky atmosphere of something lurking around the corner, something not quite right. But it also has a lot of body horror, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with a weak stomach. I mean, if you want the bejeebus scared out of you in a way that makes you keep all the lights on at night, yes, absolutely, Ames manages to capture that really well. Unfortunately for me, I read this entirely at night (well, and early morning, when it was still dark), which is not a great time to read something where the characters are literally being hunted and stalked by a horrific unknown creature if you’re a big scaredy cat like I am.

The monster in this book is described in great detail, and guys . . . it ain’t pretty. Ames definitely earns the “body horror” part of the description on this one. I’m not a huge fan of body horror myself, but that being said, this didn’t bother me too badly. Plus, the few particularly graphic sections are easy enough to skim past without really missing too much. Trust me, this monster is creepy enough even without reading the descriptions of its disturbing appearance!
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It Looks Like Us is a sinistrous nightmare. Trust nothing and beware everything.

Alison Ames became an author I had my eye keenly fixed on after the fiendish To Break a Covenant. She cements her status with this insidious, intense, and claustrophobic story, combining cutting social commentary with a story with shades of the staple of horror films: The Thing.

This is a deeply unsettling, psychologically horrendous book. Ames stalks your mind just as the monster stalks our central characters. The central premise of this book makes it impossible to trust anyone or anything you see on the page. This is an incredibly oppressive and baleful atmosphere, driven by mistrust and fear. The isolated nature of the setting adds to the unnerving, particularly that fear of the unknown and the undefined. Nature is an eternal mystery, offering so many beautiful moments but also hellish moments of darkness. Ames really leans into that here, with a meditation on the horror caused by capitalist endeavour and the pursuit of profit despite the cost. Monsters come in both recognisable and unknown forms here, human and something else entirely. The societal parallels here are unmistakable and that eco horror commentary is something striking and unusual.

From the first page, Ames ensures that you know this will be a bloody and frightening tale. That opening was incredibly atmospheric and definitely had me hooked. I liked the narrative style, moving from flashback to interview. The little hints at future actions and the way you know this is a doomed experience from the first page are brilliant. Ames excels in that fine ground that combines stomach-churning gore and action on the page with those spindly voices whispering in the back of your skull. Those body horror and contortion scenes are pure nightmare fuel. Rarely does a book actually leave chills on your skin and flashes of fear in the night than this book. There are plenty of very, very horrific scenes that are properly skin crawling, but plenty more moments that make the pit in your stomach drop because you are just anticipating more bloodshed. You are always on edge reading, questioning everything you are presented with. That psychological torment and paranoia in the characters is so well-executed and really adds to the atmosphere of terror.

Of course, horror only hits as hard if you actually care about the characters you are reading about. An absolute highlight of the book for me was these three-dimensional and loveable group of teenagers. The teenage friendships the characters form in only a few days add depth to the book. Our protagonist Riley’s compassion and connection with the others makes you want to root for them even more, despite knowledge of their eventual fate. Riley is a perfect central voice for the narrative, plagued by anxiety and panic attacks, but determined to push herself. Her voice is so arresting and enveloping that you really find yourself falling in love with her. The bleakness of the situation they face and everyone’s desire to survive makes the stakes rise even higher. Beyond Riley, our other four teenage companions are well thought out and developed. They all grow beyond their initial introductions and add vital elements of survival. This makes the shape shifting aspect of the monster that much more devastating. When you are not sure if someone you see is really the person you know, it makes every interaction become charged with an undercurrent of distrust.

It Looks Like Us is a tragic horror story that twists your mind and keeps you checking over your shoulder constantly. It is both a raging fire of horror and blood and a whisper in the dark.
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This story is about five high school students who travel to a remote research station in Antarctica to partake in data collection about climate change. The project is hosted by SladeTech-- owned by rich tech-bro Anton Rush (haha!). When they get there, they discover more than just proof of plastic pollution... and it looks human too. Our main character, Riley, wants to escape her high school and the students who ridicule her there. She has anxiety and suffers from panic attacks, one of which was filmed at her school. Once at the research station, Riley soon discovers that no one at the research station can be trusted either, as someone tries to kill her, or something I should say. If you've seen The Thing and enjoyed it you'll love this! Riley is also asexual and there are some other LBGT reps in the side characters, though I cannot personally speak to the accuracy of the asexuality representation. I loved the commentary on capitalism and the use of horror to comment on social issues. The remote setting and eery discoveries really made a great atmosphere, as there was no one to trust. This story was fast-paced and gripping from the very start!
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This book follows a group of teenagers who are brought to the Antarctic to do what they believe is research about microplastics in the ice. They quickly realize that the actual goal of the expedition is to capture an unknown shapeshifting entity that is capable of taking over, and absorbing, their bodies. What started off as a chance to look better on college applications soon turns into a fight for their lives as the creature infiltrates both their home base and their group.

When reading this book, I experienced a thought that I’ve never really had before and that was ‘I wish there was a map’. While I always love bookish maps, my appreciation for them never goes further than admiring the aesthetics at the beginning of the book and then never looking at it again. With It Looks Like Us, however, Alison Ames writes in a way that emphasizes atmosphere and location as a means to make the reader really feel like they’re in the scene alongside the characters. They change location a lot throughout the novel and sometimes my brain had a hard time keeping track of where everything was located in relation to each other. A map would have been useful for me to mark where they were at any given time to understand the setting better.

Because this book is about a shapeshifting monster, readers should be ready for lots of body horror about breaking bones, elongating body parts, gruesome injuries, etc. The version I read is an ARC, so there might be some changes made between what I read and the final product. I think my biggest suggestions would have been to have better lore surrounding the creature because for a good part of the book the characters are just making up ideas about it that very frequently happened to be true. The fact that they were able to accurately predict so much about it didn’t make sense to me, so giving them access to some kind of confidential computer file with some information (doesn’t have to be all) would have made it more believable. There were also several times where I didn’t understand certain character’s motivations, but maybe that’s how trauma responses work. For example, the characters are completely aware that they are in a life-or-death situation in which they are being hunted, but sometimes they would do things that put them in unnecessary danger (e.g. climbing into a dark vent by themselves without telling anyone or one person running away from the group to grab something). I definitely had some horror movie moments of “DON’T GO IN THERE” or “DON’T DO THAT” while reading.

All in all, It Looks Like Us, was an atmospheric and enjoyable horror novel. I predicted the ending within the first like 15% of the novel, but I still enjoyed following the events as they unfolded.
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What a great start to the reading spooky season.  This is a cross between The Thing and an old Dean Koontz novel. I read a book a long time ago where really bad things happened in the arctic and ever since then I cringe when I see articles about the ice caps melting. This will definitely give me nightmares thinking about it..

The descriptions of the monster are so descriptive that I could picture it. It started out with a bang and didn’t let up. The arctic setting was almost a character itself and perfect for the story. 

I had a chuckle at the name of the capitalistic founder of the project “Anton Rusk.”  I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters and read this in a little over a day. While you kinda know the end since we start at Riley’s escape as she tells what happened to get her there, I was still on the edge of my seat wondering how we would get there.

If you are looking for an eerie fall read, I’d add this to your tbr.
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3.5 stars

Five misfit teenagers wanting an escape from their day to day lives are chosen to go on a once in a lifetime research trip to Antarctica, and are subsequently terrorized by a supernatural creature that has been living in the ice. 

I honestly had a hard time connecting to Riley and the story at first, but once things started going sideways in the story it hooked me. From there on the book was fast paced and eerie in the best way. The body horror in this is also fantastically gross and I loved it. 

Thank you Netgalley and Page Street Publishing for the arc!
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Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Inkyard Press for a physical arc in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own.

Hmm this was weird. Didn't like the ending. The way the MC's asexuality came up was weird to me.

It Looks Like Us is a YA thriller that follows teenage Riley Kowalski who is spending her winter break doing research in Antarctica. Riley doesn’t know what to think of the five other students and the chaperones of the trip. But then she sees one of the chaperones disintegrate in front of her. Something is not right and if she or the other kids are careful, they could be infiltrated next.

My favorite thing about this book was the writing and the depiction of anxiety. I loved the atmosphere of this book so much. It was so well done and really brought all the eerie feelings. My anxiety doesn’t manifest as intense as Riley’s, but many aspects were so similar. I really enjoyed Riley’s character and getting to know the other characters.

This book is very casually queer. I knew there was ace and gay rep going into this. Though I do wish we had known how these characters ID’ed earlier on. If you enjoy thrillers, I’d definitely recommend you to pick this one up!
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YA version of The Thing meets Terror meets Resident Evil!

Six high school students, an adult chaperone, and a scientest head to Antarctica for a research expedition devised and funded by an incredibly wealthy businessman. But what starts as an exciting adventure turns into a complete terror when they realize they're there for more than just collecting ice samples as part of an environmental campaign. Something terrifying is hiding in the cold, waiting for its chance to strike. And it looks just like them. With no way to get home and no idea who to trust, this action-packed survival story will reach a disturbing end, leaving readers with wide eyes long after the last page.

Thoughts: This is one of the best YA horrors I"ve read this year! Alison Ames weaves current events with horror and greed to bring a truly terrifying story that unfortunately could be entirely true if such monsters existed. It Looks Like Us gave me Resident Evil feels with the Jeff Bezos-type character being the mastermind of the expedition and the greed he is driven by, combined with The Thing-like monster who can literally turn into anyone it touches in a polar ice cap setting. Ames fills each horror scene with descriptions that are creepily easy to imagine and captures the action in a way that made the book compulsively readable. I easily devoured this entire story. And yes, that was a terrible pun -- you're welcome. I'm excited to add this to my HS library's collection.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for the opportunity to review It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: This novel is young adult horror, so it reads very differently than the adult horror that I typically read, BUT I think that it will appeal to the intended audience. I really appreciated the diverse backgrounds of the characters and how the author didn’t shy away from including a main character with anxiety. I enjoyed the pacing and found there to be just the right balance of action and suspense. I think this book has a good amount of gore for the YA audience…it’s a good intro to that type of book. A fun addition for me as an adult reader were the references to the old Animorphs books throughout.

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing date: September 27th, 2022

Rep: Queer, Gay, Asexual, and Anxiety

Synopsis: Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.

Riley has anxiety–ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks–so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated–by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.

Content Warning: gore and panic attacks
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Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, the publisher, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained within are my own.

Sometimes, I read horror books because I like how they tend to have commentary on real world issues. Sometimes, I read horror books just to be spooked. It Looks Like Us is one of those horror books that provided a little bit of both!

This story follows a young girl named Riley. She has just signed up for a summer expedition out to Antarctica, where she will be joining a group of teens tasked with collecting ice samples for scientific research. She’s eager to go to get away from her life and try and reinvent herself, if only for the summer. Once they arrive, though, things start to go south. Greta, the expedition leader, starts to act funny and, when she tries to kill her, Riley quickly realizes this trip is not what she signed up for.

When I tell y’all this book gave me the shivers, I’m not lying! I’m not one to usually put much stock into comp titles, but they hit the nail on the head with this book. This is indeed a pretty solid mashup of The Thing and Wilder Girls when it comes to the monster lurking within and the body horror sprinkled throughout. If you’re easily spooked or easily grossed out, this might not be the read for you. But if you like a good jump-scare, you might want to check this one out!

One aspect that added to the creep factor of this book is how well the author built up the atmosphere. You can truly get a sense of the characters’ feelings of isolation as they are stuck on the most inhospitable continent with something that is trying to kill them. Alison Ames crafts the loneliness and the terror so well and that’s what really made this a great horror novel! Dread oozes off the pages and I freakin’ ate it up. The plot also pulls you into the action immediately and it doesn’t let up until you turn the last page. It made for a fast reading experience, that’s for sure!

The characters in this story were wonderfully written, as well. Riley, our main character, is definitely the most fully realized character of the bunch. Though the others in her group are interesting, I felt like they weren’t as nuanced as Riley. I thought the author did a good job depicting Riley’s anxiety, as well. I don’t suffer from anxiety myself, so please take what I say with a grain of salt, but it felt real and intense. Again, the other characters fell a little flat for me, but they were still interesting enough that I was invested in what happened to them. Well… most of them.

Overall, this was a fast-paced, intense read that had me flying through the pages. The atmosphere and tone is pitch perfect for this brand of horror and it had my spine tingling many times! I enjoyed Riley’s character and thought the author did an incredible job depicting how she struggles with anxiety. The secondary characters were less intriguing, but I still had a great time with this book. If you’re a fan of horror that features isolation and leans on the grotesque side, I think you should give this one a try!
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Disclaimer: I received an arc and e-arc of this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: It Looks Like Us

Author: Alison Ames

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Asexual MC with Anxiety Disorder, Asian character, Gay character

Recommended For...: young adult readers, horror, science fiction, thriller, LGBT, queer

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: YA Horror

Age Relevance: 14+ (gore, death, grief, cursing, panic attacks, violence, drugs, suicide)

Explanation of Above: There is a lot of gore, involving burns and blood and body parts, and violence involving weapons in this book. There is death and grief mentioned and shown in this book. There are 3 instances of panic attacks shown on screen. There are some slight mentions of drugs and suicide/suicidal ideation.

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Pages: 277

Synopsis: Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.

Riley has anxiety--ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks--so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated--by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.

Review: This was such an amazing book! I loved it from start to finish. The book reminded me a lot of The Thing due to the setting and how the monster worked a bit. I loved the twist at the end, even though I had already guessed it near the beginning. The book did so well with world building and character development. I loved every moment of the book and, I’m probably wrong, but is Asha from this author’s other book To Break a Covenant? Is everything set in the same universe given the same cover palettes being used? Is there a monster multiverse from Alison Ames? I’m  not sure but I’m here doing my impatient dance for her next work of horror.

The only issue I had with the book is how predictable the book was. I felt like it was a bit too obvious for a twist, but I loved it nonetheless.

Verdict: It was so good! Recommending for Halloween Recs!
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