BOOK BLOG: Jennifer Killick

Crater Lake: a wonderfully scary, but fun book!

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“Who is the mysterious bloodstained man who stops their coach? Why is no one around when Lance and the rest of Year Six arrive at the brand new Crater Lake activity centre? But this is just the beginning of the school trip from hell; a fight for survival that sees five pupils band together to save their classmates from an alien fate far worse than death. But whatever happens, they must Never. Ever. Fall asleep!”

Crater Lake tells the story of young Lance and his classmates who are going on their Year 6 residential. We all know residentials are a brilliant time for teachers and kids alike to have fun and get to know each other as people, create memories and just relax for a little bit. Lance and his friends all hope that Crater Lake is going to be that residential for them. They’re excited. When things start going a bit awry on the bus to their residential place, Lance and his friends start worrying that maybe it won’t be this wonderful thing they’ve built themselves up for.  

On their drive up to their residential location, the bus is met by a bloody man who looks a bit like a zombie which makes Lance and his friends start to worry. The teachers seem to be not too bothered by it. They carry on their journey despite worries, but when they get to Crater Lake nothing quite seems right. There’s not many staff, it’s boiling hot and the meals aren’t even worth looking at never mind eating. Add this to the fact there doesn’t seem to be much to do: none of the typical residential type activities and you’ve got a very confused Lance. When bedtime comes around, Lance and his friends stay awake, which is a good thing because a lot of their classmates QUICKLY seem to be different people. It is up to Lance and the few remaining classmates who managed to stay awake to save the day – but they MUST stay awake… not an easy feat when you’re exhausted. 

This book has quickly become a favourite in my Year 6 class. It was my ‘Recommended Read’ a few weeks ago and word of mouth has spread that this is a little bit spooky, a little bit funny and a lot brilliant, so almost half of my class have read it! We’ve had a few children even comment on the fact they hope we don’t all get possessed while on residential in the Lake District haha! There’s a wonderful balance in this book between a little bit scary, funny and a brilliant story which made me devour this book in a matter of hours. It’s not scary enough to terrify children, but it’s spooky enough to make them want to read on! It’s a brilliantly fast paced and clever book that is going to have a big fan base! I can’t wait to see if Jennifer Killick writes more books like this because this is a proper hit! I devoured it in a matter of hours and that’s a testament to the brilliant characters, plot and clever writing. 

Words from my Year 6s:

“I loved this book because it was scary but it didn’t make me too scared. Also, the characters were like me and my friends”

“We can’t go on residential like this miss. I don’t wanna go there. This book tells the story of a proper bad residential, but it was loads of fun. I’m glad that Lance and his friends talked about his secret – it’s good to have great friends like this”

“This was a good story because it shows that children can be really brave and they come up with brilliant plans – even better than teachers (haha)” 

My Goodreads review:

Brilliantly fun and paced. I don’t wanna visit Crater Lake. It’s a bit scary for my likes but if I get to go with Lance and his friends, I think I’d be ok! I’m definitely going to have dreams about wasplike humans now though!! Great MG sci fi book!

Have you read Crater Lake?
Where did you go on residentials?
Can you recommend me some other books for my Y6 class?

Talk to me in the comments! I’d love to know your thoughts and recommendations! Massive thank you to the publishers Firefly Press for sending me a review copy!

S x