Dead Flip by Sara Farizan // Book Review

This had all the vibes of Stranger Things and Ready Player One. If you’re a fan of video games, monsters looking to suck your life out, and teenagers really learning a little bit about themselves in the process, then this one is for you.

Here’s more about Dead Flip

Growing up, Cori, Maz, and Sam were inseparable best friends, sharing their love for Halloween, arcade games, and one another. Now it’s 1992, Sam has been missing for five years, and Cori and Maz aren’t speaking anymore. How could they be, when Cori is sure Sam is dead and Maz thinks he may have been kidnapped by a supernatural pinball machine?
 
These days, all Maz wants to do is party, buy CDs at Sam Goody, and run away from his past. Meanwhile, Cori is a homecoming queen, hiding her abiding love of horror movies and her queer self under the bubblegum veneer of a high school queen bee. But when Sam returns—still twelve years old while his best friends are now seventeen—Maz and Cori are thrown back together to solve the mystery of what really happened to Sam the night he went missing. Beneath the surface of that mystery lurk secrets the friends never told one another, then and now. And Sam’s is the darkest of all . . .
 
Award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine and Here to Stay Sara Farizan delivers edge-of-your-seat terror as well as her trademark referential humor, witty narration, and insightful characters.

Find it on Amazon | Find it on Bookshop.org


My thoughts

The fast pace of Dead Flip threw me off a little. Granted, this is my first YA book in a really long time, so it surprised me how quickly things were moving right at the beginning, but one thing was obvious: Sam, Cori, and Maz used to be best friends. They used to hang out with each other and for all intents and purposes, they were kind of misfits who found friendship through a mutual love of pinball. But something happens, as things do when you’re a teenager, and their threesome split. When Sam disappears one day, the group also splits. Cori and Maz are left to pick up the pieces of their life without one of their best friends. Cori becomes popular and nominated for the prom queen. Maz’s family starts to do better than before raising his status among the folks at school. They make their ways in separate directions until Sam suddenly returns; except that he’s still the same Sam that left, young and a little bit different.

The rest of the book is a whirlwind journey of how Sam came back and what it all means. I don’t want to spoil it, but Sam’s whereabouts really shook me. I love stories like this and it reminds me a little bit of Stranger Things in that Sam has been in some inter-dimension that exists within the real unieverse. As you keep reading, the truth behind where Sam has been is revealed. This also felt like thriller/horror lite. If you’re not invested in reading something too spooky, but has enough to give you the vibes, then this might be a book to add to your Halloween reading lists. I know I will because it was a lot of fun, actually has a super hopeful ending, and the supernatural elements were not surprising, but still entertaining.

Sam’s return also brings Maz and Cori back together and while the two of them have been in separate circles and learning how to cope, it seems almost like Sam brings them together. I really enjoyed the friendship between Maz, Cori, and Sam. Without Sam, it felt like they were parts to a whole that no longer fit into each other. But it’s obvious that Sam is the glue of their relationship and with his return, something reverts back for both Maz and Cori; to a simpler time when all they had were each other and that sparks the changes they face throughout the rest of the book.

Overall, this was a fun and fast-paced story that would make for a perfect spooky season read! If you’re looking to get the feel of Halloween without it being too gorey, then I suggest picking this one up!

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