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Wretched Waterpark: 01/17/23
Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White (2022) is the start of Sinister Summer series. The Sinister-Winterbottom siblings: Theo, Alexander, and Wil, have been sent to their Aunt Saffronia. She in turn sends them to a gothic themed waterpark to solve a mystery. What it is, though, she won't tell them.
From the very start they realize things are off. They're forced to wear chained collars instead of the usual paper bracelets. There are no churros. There's only one restaurant and it makes you dress up, only to serve nasty, old fashioned food.
But those are only minor annoyances compared to bigger problems. The founder's husband, Mr. Widow, is missing, presumed drowned in the wave pool cave. Employees randomly don't show up to work. And there's a rumor that if you run, you'll disappear.
The overall vibe of the waterpark is that of Legends of Eerie-on-Sea by Thomas Taylor. The siblings, though, remind me of the Vanderbeekers.
While the majority of the mystery was focused on the waterpark, there's something bigger at stake that's hinted at but left unspoken. There are gaps in time or the apparent use of magic but the siblings haven't been told what's really going on. Clues are left to observant readers to infer. I hope later books dig into the larger world.
This first volume, though, does also sit on the Road Narrative Spectrum. The travelers are the siblings (CC). Their destination is Uhoria (CC) as they need to figure out what happened at the waterpark before they got there. Their route is the maze (CC) as represented by the waterpark itself.
The second book is Vampiric Vacation (2022).