Cover Image: Ready Or Not

Ready Or Not

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

It pains me to slate a book in a review. Despite my low rating, that it not what I am going to do here. However, this book was really not for me. Maybe it was the synopsis' similarities to my favourite YA thriller, We Were Liars, that failed to materialise in the text? Maybe it was a case of right book at the wrong time? Either way, I failed to love this one as much as other reviewers.

The novel opened with Millie's return to the summer home, once a place of happiness and now only with memories of tragedy attached to it. Three families had long been holidaying together there until one year, Kat, one of the other children and Millie's closest friend, failed to reappear after a game of hide-and-seek. This was an intriguing premise and I was eager to find out what had occurred.

I found Millie a likeable protagonist but also one removed from her peers and so I too felt removed from the action and the drama that occurred between them. I usually like this sort of perspective and so can't really place why it distanced me so here.

My intrigue remained high, concerning Kat, but I was less enamoured with the surrounding interpersonal relationship drama and the ins-and-outs of everyone's lives. It proved a fast read because of this but also not, unfortunately, a wholly enjoyable one for me.
Was this review helpful?
While this story didn't have the driving pace or tension of Darnton's previous thriller, The Rules, I nevertheless kept on turning on the pages, keen to find out what had happened and I absolutely LOVED the ending. A solid genre read that I will be recommending to pupils.
Was this review helpful?
A group of friends had been going on holiday at Creek House for years but one day whilst playing hide and seek one of them, Kat, disappears. A year later the friends return to try and work out what happened to Kat and give closure to them by discovering the truth about her disappearance. 

I had read other books from this author so I was really looking forward to starting this book but unfortunately I ended up being disappointed and bored through the book. I think what didn't help was we didn't get to know much about the characters individually and what we did know I didn't find made me really care about them. There seemed to be too much focus on pointing out that Kat had disappeared in the story that I already knew before I'd started the book and not enough time spent working out the mystery as to why. Even when the book did try to work out the mystery it seemed all over the place to me and didn't seem to follow a logical order. Maybe this has a lot to do with the last book I read being one of the A Good Girls Guide to Murder books which in contrast to this book is incredibly detailed and well put together. This possibly left me feeling the book was really lacking in the mystery when if I'd not just read that book I might've thought differently. 

It was interesting to see he manipulative friendship that Millie and Kat seemed to have within the story as that's not something I've read much in books and I definitely think it's an important topic. I didn't like the ending much at all. I thought it was clever but I thought I'd missed a chapter as it doesn't really resolve what happened and that was the whole point of the book. I don't want to guess what happened from reading between the lines, I expect to be told and given reasons to why and how if it's supposed to be a mystery book. I may as well have made the ending up myself 200 pages earlier and saved myself the boredom of the rest of the story if the ending isn't even resolved! 

I didn't enjoy this book at all which is a shame as I've enjoyed other books from this author, maybe this would be a more gripping mystery for younger readers.
Was this review helpful?
A really engaging thriller. It kept me guessing all the way through. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more books from the author in the future
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and Little Tiger Group for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The book follows Millie, whose best friend, Kat, goes missing on a family friend trip one summer. With her friends, she decides to return to the house a year later where Kat disappeared to figure out what really happened to her. 

All in all, I didn't find this mystery particularly compelling. I enjoyed the structure, how the author juxtaposed the present and the past so we see how Kat went missing and what the aftermath looked like. I also enjoyed Millie's letters to Kat. I found that her voice and her relationship came out very well in this way, the same way with Kat, even though she wasn't particularly present in one half of the storyline. That being said, I felt like too much of the story focused on Kat's disappearance without really getting to the mystery/thriller portion of it, and I felt like some of it read more as filler than anything else. But for Millie and Kat, I didn't find any of the other characters particularly interesting, and I would've liked to see Charlie more, as Kat's sibling, and how her disappearance affected him and how that might have changed Millie's relationship with him as well.

I think it could be a quick, fun read for people, but not necessarily one that they'd have their eyes glued to! The author definitely has skill, I just think the story and the characters could've been fleshed out differently.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. I'd seen people talking about this book online, so I was really looking forward to reading it when I found out I was granted access to an arc of this, and I was not disappointed! I loved the characters and how their arcs developed, and I really liked the plot and how it all came together for the end of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed this and can't see much room for improvement, so I am going to give it 4/5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
I completely devoured this book! It took me just over 24 hours to finish it – and let me tell you, it has been years since I’ve last done that – I just couldn’t put it down.

I’m not even sure where to start with my review! From the very beginning, you’re drawn in to the story and all the mysteriousness surrounding Millie and her Creaker friends. It’s such a weird relationship they have with each other but you know they’re bound by years of holidays and New Years celebrations.

I really enjoyed how the story was split – with some chapters being from when Kat originally went missing, to a year on when the Creakers are reuniting. There’s also some newspaper clippings which add a bit more backstory and then there are Millie’s letters to Kat. Even though there is quite a few different formats, it never feels overwhelming or clunky, if anything it helps the story to flow even better.

With the story being from Millie’s perspective, you really learn a lot about her but I couldn’t help but think there was something she was hiding still. I felt like she was a bit of an unreliable narrator – that there was some psychological or mental issue she was hiding from the reader. I could be completely wrong but you could definitely tell she was living in a fantasy world most of the time.

Let’s talk about Kat – you can tell that she is quite a manipulative character. She knows exactly what to say or do to get Millie to do as she pleases. You actually feel sorry for Millie because in her head, her and Kat are the best of friends and they share everything but in reality Kat is hiding so much from Millie, and from everyone else.

Kat was such an enigma, I was trying to work out alongside Millie and Noah why Kat has disappeared. Every new thing they found I was like “It’s them!!” but there were still so many questions left unanswered.

It was such a fast paced story that I found myself physically unable to put it down – I just kept reading and reading because I was desperate to find out what happened next.

In terms of the ending, there were still so many questions left that I couldn’t actually believed it had ended. I was turning the pages like that’s it?!?! I do wish it was longer but at the same time it was such a great ending.

If you love Karen M. McManus then I can guarantee you, you will LOVE this book. I definitely recommend you add this to your wish list and TBR – you won’t regret it!
Was this review helpful?
For as long as Millie can remember, the three families have holidayed at Creek House & the kids, Matt, Charlie, Jem, Kat, & Millie called themselves The Creekers. Now that they are teenagers things are changing, & the last holiday in 2018 goes horribly wrong when Kat goes missing during a game of Hide & Seek, Despite a media campaign & police involvement, a year later Kat still hasn't been found - in fact there has been no trace of her at all. Millie asks the three remaining Creekers to revisit the holiday home for closure but really she wants to get the bottom of what happened to Kat once & for all.

The narrative is from Millie's point of view & we get present-day Millie, Millie's diary entries since Kat's disappearance, & Millie from a year ago (2018). The reader slowly learns about what happened that week & watches as Millie starts to realise that Kat wasn't the person she thought she was & was far from being the best friend she remembers. Everyone seems to have their own reasons for wanting Kat gone & secrets & lies abound including local boy, Noah, who was hauled in for questioning over the disappearance. 

I'm really torn about this book. On the one hand, it's well-written & I flew through it in under 24 hours, but I have one or two issues with it, the main one being that Millie seems far too young for her actual age. Also there's supposed to be just a year between Millie (15) & Kat (16), but the way the others treat Millie, it's as if she is a ten year old running after them. When you can have almost a year in age difference between the oldest & the youngest pupils in the same school year, it felt really weird that it was portrayed this way. The ending had me going "NOooo" - I had to read it twice just to make sure. If you like YA thrillers that don't tie everything up neatly in a bow at the end, then you may enjoy this one. 

Thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Little Tiger Group/Stripes Publishing, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
“People don’t just disappear,” I say. “There’s always something.”


One thing I’m always looking for is a murder mystery that keeps me on my toes, waiting for the next twist, and keeps me reading.
I just finished this book in a day, which should tell you enough about the fast-paced, well-flowing story “Ready or not” tells.
The chapters are short and quick to read, with Millie’s letters to get distributed evenly throughout the book without becoming annoying.
Only the police records seemed a little unnecessary, especially about Noah, as it took away from the actual plot for a character that is a little flat and never captured my attention.

Millie is a much more interesting protagonist than most “murder-mystery” – girlies that always fall on the same spectrum of very smart, nerdy main characters, that also find love during their journey. While Millie clearly has the “smart-girl that is awkward and everyone kind of rolls their eyes at them” vibes, her relationship to Kat makes her stand out. Because, while she wants to find out what happened to Kat it is also, very clearly, always about her (Millie) and her need for closure? Vengeance? Understanding? Instead of Kat’s actual well-being. 

I enjoyed the mystery, it flowed with the plot without being too overbearing or irrelevant, but at the same time it did feel a little cheap in the middle section of the book. Characters, who were introduced as smart and acted the same way otherwise, seemed to look over obvious details in Kats's case. Especially Noah, with his research should’ve pinned down a lot more even without Millie’s help.
Noah’s a whole different story altogether, but I can’t say much without spoiling his part in the story. What I can say is that one-dimensional characters shouldn’t be part of your suspect in a murder mystery.

I loved the ending of ready or not, and without giving too much away, I think it perfectly encapsulates not only the way the book presents games and stories but also fits Kats & Millie’s characters and their relationship to one another beautifully. And you bet I was silently screaming while I followed the last chapters, making up my own end in my head before the solution was found.

If you enjoy any of Karen M. McManus’ YA Murder mysteries like me, you will probably also enjoy this book and its characters!
Was this review helpful?
Teenager Kat goes missing during a game of hide and seek, and a year later the friends who failed to find her reunite at the holiday home that she went missing from.

This book is pitched as a thrilling mystery, but I struggled to connect with it because of how much I disliked the characters, and felt fairly apathetic about the victim. It was well written and the twists were fairly good - but they just didn't have the impact they should have because of my general dislike of the story by that point!

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book is honestly worth a 4 stars but I have no choice to lower it to 3.5 stars because I just don't really like such open ending especially in thrillers, so frustrating!

We clearly have a very quick read here, all about Kat's disappearing, and we get to have two different timelines: one in 2018 days of the disappearing, and 2019 back to Creek House for the anniversary. Once you get used to switching back and forth, it's not bothering at all and I really liked slowly picking up infos and discovering more stuff here and there. It's not the best ever read but we really get a good time reading it and trying to understand what happened and how it happened, other character's little secrets and mostly Millie's (our MC). I also liked the little investigation we had with Noah.

However I really don't like such open endings, where we're left wondering what happened to the missing person, then and now, and being left with so many unanswered questions. This book is clearly made that way so it's not a /bad/ ending it was really well done ! But for people like me who loves to get to know everything from A to Z of what happened, it's super frustrating lol

Also thumbs up for showing of how a toxic relationship works between "friends" but also siblings, we get to see all the manipulation, guilt-tripping, mockery, blackmail possibilities, etc. I also really liked to see how Millie realising made her change in her letters to Kat!
Was this review helpful?
I am a big crime/thriller fan and thoroughly enjoyed Ready Or Not. The story begins with three families who holiday every year together on a Cornish creek until the year when, after a game of hide and seek, Kat goes missing. 

The events at the time and afterwards are retold by Millie as the group of teenagers reunite a year after Kat’s disappearance to stay on the creek once more.

The structure of the book and use of Millie’s voice (past and present), and her letters to Kat, added so much to the tension. Whilst these different threads add to the complexity of the narrative, the story is easy to follow and I was hooked from the start.

I really enjoyed reading about Millie trying to dig into Kat’s disappearance on returning to the cottage and the twist at the end left my jaw on the floor! A fab YA read which I personally found to be more compelling than The Great Godden which it is compared to on Amazon. A great read and would recommend for teenagers.
Was this review helpful?
Ready or Not is a book designed for you to fly through on those balmy summer days full of sun and secrets. This is a tightly plotted and fast-paced book that constantly keep you on your toes. 

Darnton is one devilish writer. This is a book that thrives in ambiguity and underlying secrets. There are no easy answers, though the reader can draw their own conclusions. I love that ability to let the book thrive in the reader’s imagination and how we can spiral down our own rabbit holes, giving a unique spin on the mystery. 
From that intriguing opening, Darnton had me hooked. It was short and sharp, giving you just enough to pull you in but also staying concise and mysterious. You are aware of the hotbed of secrets and tangled relationships here, as well as the central mystery. Darnton keeps that slick pacing and tension throughout the book. The writing style is so addictive and easy to devour. The twists and turns are excellently executed and almost always rooted in the characters we’ve come to know. 

These are fractured and flawed people, who grew up together but have started to drift apart. Darnton blends the quintessential coming of age experience with a thrilling and speedy plotline. It is only through the tragic events of the last summer, shrouded in mystery and emotional entanglements, that have drawn them back together once more. In particular, Millie’s narrative voice is so layered and fascinating, particularly the mix of letters, past and present day narration. You get to see so many more facets to Millie as the book develops and I loved the subtle changes in the letters. 

 Go into this book knowing as little as you can and be prepared for Darnton to lead you on a wild exploration of deception, coming of age and friendship.
Was this review helpful?
During a game of hide and seek 16 year old Kat goes missing, one year later the group of friends return to the holiday home for the anniversary to gain closure.

First of all I found it hard to believe that the parents would allow the kids to return on their own when they all lived miles away. At that point they were 16/17 but considering how Millies parents were very clingy to her after Kats disappearance I just didn't buy this narrative.

I found the characters to be unlikable so unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book.
Was this review helpful?
There is so much I want to say about this and yet I can't find the words without spoiling something.
This was a good missing person mystery for YA audience - an excellent book for first time mystery readers.
I will say that the person who was behind it was obvious to me but that last twist when we discover what happened was dark. It was such a, WHAT!? moment. 
You may have to suspend reality that parents would let their non-missing teenagers return to a cottage where one of their kids actually went missing, a cottage hours away from their homes... and to let them go alone. 
The protagonist, Millie, was insuferable, whiny and felt like she was 10yrs old. I'm marking it 3 stars due to how much of struggle it was getting through her brain. Also, Kat gave me Alison from Pretty Little Liars vibe.
The actual mystery makes the book worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
Shared family holidays that go wrong…. It’s not until the final night that the others agree to a game of hide and seek. But in the time it takes Millie to count to twenty, Kat vanishes.
One year on, and struggling to come to terms with the events of last summer, Millie persuades the others to return to Creek House. It’s meant to give them closure, but it could be a chance to find out what happened. After all, people don’t just disappear, do they? A brace yourself and buckle up read! Wow… Fantastic…
Was this review helpful?
Thoroughly enjoyed this YA mystery, I read it in one sitting.

I'm a fan of missing person narratives and of stories with an intriguing group dynamic of characters- Ready or Not had both and the main protagonist, telling the story, was suitably unreliable.

It had a lovely twisty sense to it, I was never quite sure where it would go and in the end the ironic, unexpected and genuinely satisfying resolution just made the whole thing for me

A great read. I shall track down more from this author. Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book It was well written with a gripping storyline and believeable characters. It was twisty, unpredictable and had me on the edge of my seat, not knowing what was going to happen.
Was this review helpful?