Book Review: CRATER LAKE by Jennifer Killick (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in orange on dark teal image of a lake surrounded by woods
Genre: Horror
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book


Book cover for CRATER LAKE: title in orange below graphic of a lake surrounded by woods

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! 

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


CRATER LAKE is my second Jennifer Killlick book and I can easily see now why she’s called the queen of MG horror. This is two out of two for really creepy MG books that make you go “nope nope nope” and hoping the kids get out alive. It strikes the right balance of being situationally/conceptually unnerving without being the sort of violent horror that just makes me feel sick.

This book in particular will ensure that you never want to go to an outdoors activity centre on a school trip ever again. Particularly if the name is something ominous. (I went on a year 6 trip to a place with a “devil’s bowl” nearby, so this felt very much like I’d scraped through that trip!)

Things go wrong even before they arrive and then it just gets worse. Alien mind control not unlike wasps was particularly awful. I hate the idea of losing control of my own body and the fact that it happens to you when you go to sleep just compounded the horror. You have to keep yourself awake (aka deprive yourself of something you need and so slow yourself down mentally and physically while trying to stop the aliens!) It adds to the discomfort and the peril.

I loved that we had sleep apnoea and CPAP machine rep! I have a family member with that condition and this is the first time I’ve seen it on the page. Seeing something so normal to you but not in media on the page in front of you done well is always a lovely feeling.

There is another book in this series, which I will dive into soon!

Read my reviews of other books by Jennifer Killick:

Crater Lake (this series):

Dread Wood:


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