Book Review: Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay

Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay is about a 14 year old boy named Tommy Sanderson and his two friends, Josh and Luis, who venture into the Borderland State Park in Ames, Massachusetts late one night during a sleepover. Tommy disappears into the woods after telling his friends that he'll meet them back at Josh's house and is never seen again. Elizabeth Sanderson, Tommy's mother, is beside herself as the police search turns up no clues and strange things are happening around town.

This book was chosen for a book club I belong to, and after reading the synopsis, I was super excited to read Disappearance at Devil's Rock, and I immediately went to the library to check out the book. Although it started with great promise, the book turned out to be a great disappointment. It is touted as being in the horror genre, but it fits more in the mystery genre with a hint of supernatural with mention of one of the characters being psychic and mention of the devil throughout the novel.

One of the biggest disappointments of Disappearance at Devil's Rock is that the synopsis on the cover gives away the majority of the plot lines, so you already know all the details with the exception of the last 30 - 40 pages. Those last pages let the reader know what exactly happened the night Tommy disappeared, what happened to him, and gives the reader an epilogue. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking something more was going to happen, and then it would just fizzle. Maybe the publishers were pressuring him to put out another book, but if this book is representative of his past works, then I'm not sure I want to read any of them.

Something that annoyed me, but probably shouldn't have, is that instead of just labeling each chapter as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc., he had a blurb about what the chapter was about. It made it feel like his target audience was intended to be a middle grade or tween audience instead of an adult audience.

In addition, Tremblay didn't develop the characters enough as I never really felt like I got to know them. He did however do a good job at capturing how kids would act in certain situations . . . they just needed more development. So what kept me reading to the very end? I wanted to know what happened to Tommy and then was left with more questions.



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