book review, buddy read, horror, women in horror

Parachute by Holly Rae Garcia

17 year old Angela has just graduated high school and has snuck out for one last party with her friends before they all go their separate ways.

While hanging out at the abandoned elementary school, the six friends decide to break in and play one last game of parachute. What better way to celebrate the cusp of adulthood than one last hurrah with a game from their childhood?

Except this is no ordinary piece of colored canvas, and they soon regret their trip down memory lane.

I absolutely love the premise of this novella. Children’s game are perfect material for horror. The mixture of nostalgia and innocence is great for inspiring a creepy story.

I’ve read the author’s previous novels and enjoyed them. She writes well and creates realistic, compelling characters.

Angela and her friends are given a great set up at the start of this novella. They’re all smart, mostly driven, young people with plans for the future. While Angela struggles with knowing what she wants to do with her life, several of her friends seem to already have their future planned out.

This is a very short novella, only 106 pages, so when 30% is spent describing the characters and introducing their relationship to each other, I expected this to have a big payoff. Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive, with the teens behaving like moronic B movie fodder once the horror started. I felt this was inconsistent with the characters portrayal at the beginning of the book. Sure, some of them were stoned, but they were smart, capable 17 year olds and I was surprised that they all fell apart so quickly.

I was also disappointed that it took 30% of the story to get to the titular parachute, as it’s such a short novella, and I wish some of that time had been devoted to the horror element and resolution instead.

An argument could be made that the story is a metaphor for growing up, growing apart, life getting serious and adults losing their way. I like the idea of this extra dimension to the story, and I wish more had been made of it.

While I wish more had been made of the premise, and the character’s behavior had been more interesting, I enjoyed the novella. It was an entertaining, quick read. I appreciate that those who played the parachute game as children will probably get more out of this story than I did due to the nostalgia factor.

I award Parachute

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