Review | The Art of Escaping [and finding your passion] by Erin Callahan

“Real secrets weren’t sweet nothings you whispered in your arm candy’s ear.”




Seventeen-year-old Mattie is hiding her obsession with Harry Houdini and Dorothy Dietrich from everyone, including her best friend Stella. When Stella takes off to boarding school for the summer, all of Mattie’s anxieties bubble to the surface, leaving her feeling adrift. To distract herself, she seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist whose life and career were snuffed out by a tragic plane crash.

With Miyu’s help, Mattie secretly transforms herself into a burgeoning escapologist and performance artist. Away from the curious eyes of her peers, she thrives in her new world of lock picking, straitjackets, and aquarium escapes. But when Will, a popular varsity athlete from her high school, discovers her act at an underground venue, she fears that her double life is about to be exposed. But instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie something he’s never told anyone before and the two of them find out that not all secrets can remain secret forever.

Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.


Edition: Paperback

Publishing Date: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

ISBN: 194499565X (ISBN13: 9781944995652)

Goodreads Rating: 4.09

My Rating: 3.50



I am such a sucker for stories with good characterization.

I just need to say that even though I was not a fan of the plot and all at first, the characters really intrigued me and I was very much pleased with their development by the end of the book.



~ the plot did not intrigue me enough at first which I think was mainly due to the fact that I expected whose plot revolved more on, literally, “The Art of Escaping”. I expected it to deal with different issues and topics and sadly, that was not what I got.

It felt like your typical modern teenage story at first. It started slow but was also able to pick itself up about halfway. It was greatly amusing though and I believe that it is something that would appeal to younger teenagers since it seems like this was the target audience the author had in mind while writing this.

I’m not saying that the actual plot wasn’t good, but it was not the plot that I was looking for.



~ I love the characterization. I thought that the characters would also be following the steroetypical template. Every character had a life in them, no matter how ridiculous thir names sounded or how absurd they were acting.

Our main character, with a snarky attitude, seemed to be against the world or have the world against her and I can’t help but feel sorrow for her, but not pity, which I think is a very fine line that a lot of authors forget was there in the first place.

I felt bad for her without pitying her, so she still appeared strong, in a way, to me.



~ the excerpts before each chapter was a big part of what gave the whole story depth and meaning. It tied together the story more and the chapter titles were really creative for the writer.

They honestly balanced out the ridiculousness that might have been happening in the plot itself and put the plot on the right path again. They were most certainly not random and you can understand how the author put a purpose to each one that was placed there.


~ the writing style was not bad, I just don’t think it was meant to appeal to me. It had a light tone, which was unexpected due to the the title. It had good morals and things to relate to, while still being able to maintain a decent amount of creativity.

I was ready for some hardcore-heart-pounding book. It is a potentionally good coming-of-age story and this is something that those along the lower end of the age range should try picking this up.



Overall, this was not an entirely bad book if you compare it to other teenager-y novels. It is certainly deeper than the average teen novel, but I expected a different story and plot, and in the end my expectations were the death of me.


I expected a more heart wrenching read but this had a surprisingly lighter tone. Still, there is much to love and this is not a book to be avoided.






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