I love a great people vs. nature thriller, and Rektok Ross’ debut Ski Weekend delivers chills, thrills, and an eerie atmosphere. This survivalist YA thriller is just the read to pick up (bundled up with a cozy blanket) once the snow sticks this season. Or if you live in a warmer climate, like me, now that we’re approaching Christmas.
Stranded in a deadly environment, six teens and, seriously, the best dog ever (hello, Champion) face impossible odds and are forced to make impossible choices.
Bring together six unlikely teens (think, The Breakfast Club vibes), set them off on a road trip to a ski lodge, and have that trip ended in a snowstorm and disaster, and you’ve got yourself a killer (yes, I went there) YA novel. Sam, Stuart, Gavin, Hunter, Britney, and Lily are six high schoolers from six different walks of life who are all dying (I know, enough already with the terrible puns) to get to a ski lodge. Except for protagonist, Sam. Sam doesn’t really care about the party at the lodge. She’s only on this trip for her younger brother, Stuart.
Through Sam’s eyes readers see the story (and the drama, oh, there is drama) unfold. Sam’s got a smart head on her shoulders and is the one who initially cautions against taking the shortcut that leads everyone into trouble. But it’s (jock) Hunter’s survival knowledge that turns out to be lifesaving. And this expectation vs. reality is only one way in which Sam (throughout the novel) confronts her preconceived notions. Britney is more than just the princess stereotype. Sam’s best friend, Lily, is more than just brainy. People are complex. And so are the characters in Ski Weekend.
Writing a survivalist thriller (making the environment the baddie) is no simple task, and Rektok Ross has knocked it out of the park. From page one, there’s a sense of impending doom. After disaster strikes, just try to set this novel down. The suspense is intense. And as the six teens (and dog, Champion) are left stranded in a hostile, frozen wilderness, we are left with our hands glued to the page. Ski Weekend is a marvel of a YA suspense read, in which character arcs and plot unfold effortlessly in the writing.
What’s more to love: sibling bonds, defied tropes, diverse cast of characters, a delicious slow burn romance, will (almost certainly) make you cry and hug those you love extra tight (the emotions!), disability representation.
A knockout debut.
Book: Ski Weekend
Publication Date: October 26th, 2021
Age Range: 13 – adult