I just finished--just as in, this very morning--Even If We Break, by Marieke Nijkamp. It's an incredible YA horror/thriller, set against the backdrop of a stormy, haunted mountain in the southwestern U.S. Five semi-estranged friends convene at one of their family's luxury cabins for their last tabletop gaming night before college, internships, and adult jobs sink their teeth in. As their RPG characters unearth a fictional murder mystery, the teens--each hiding their own terrible secrets--begin to uncover a bloody plot that is entirely too real.
This is my first foray into one of Nijkamp's grusome, clever worlds, and boy did I enjoy it! Her characterization perfectly captures the heartache of new adulthood, and the pain of realizing you have outgrown dear friendships--or they have outgrown you. The confines of a hunted mountain, the game that binds the group together, and the secrets that drive them apart, all add a great modern gothic feel. I was thrilled to find two trans characters--nonbinary and a trans guy--plus an autistic character, and two others with physical disabilities, all of whom were thoughtfully written. While decidedly creepy, the real fear throughout the novel was whether each of the friends could remember to trust one another in time--or if they would be picked off when their time came. For fans looking for a creepy, nerdy, yearning read! 5 stars!