Review: The Long Weekend
The world doesn’t need vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and demons to be scary. People can be scary enough in and of themselves. In Savita Kalhan’s thriller The Long Weekend, eleven-year-old boys Sam and Lloyd discover the truest kind of monster: a person with evil intentions.
Sam is the new kid in school, but he has quickly latched on to Lloyd, and they begin to spend time together both in and out of school. On a stormy afternoon, they are waiting together outside of school, unsure which of their parents will pick them up. When a man in a big black van tells them to get in the car, both kids mistakenly assume that it is the other one’s ride. It’s not until they have been driving around for a while that Sam and Lloyd realize they are not heading home. Now. Or possibly ever.
I admit that I was skeptical at first, finding the premise a bit far-fetched. Sure, kids get kidnapped all the time, but don’t most have enough “stranger danger” knowledge to not jump in a car without knowing who the driver is first? I’m still not sure whether I was able to suspend disbelief or just accept that sometimes 11-year-olds do stupid things, but either way, the book picked up speed so fast that I was able to move on from my initial concerns pretty quickly.
It isn’t long before things get all too real. Once Sam and Lloyd are locked up in separate parts of a huge, scary mansion, the tension escalates considerably. Kalhan’s writing is descriptive, but leaves out just enough detail to keep the book from being overly graphic. Some horrors can be left to the imagination. It is in the house and throughout Sam and Lloyd’s attempted escape that I found the most respect for Sam. He begins the story as a very naive young boy, but I was proud of the inner strength that he developed when he knew that he needed to take care of himself and his friend.
The Long Weekend is a petite book, easily read in one sitting, which is ideal since it is hard to put down until you know the outcome of Sam and Lloyd’s abduction. This is a book perhaps best read by teens a few years older than the protagonists, though younger teens and tweens would likely benefit from reading it with a parent or teacher. The Long Weekend is certain to give both younger and older readers goosebumps and plenty to talk about.