Crater Lake


By Jennifer Killick
Published 19 March 2020 | ISBN 9781913102203

Welcome to Crater Lake: the Year Six school trip from hell!

Maybe it’s the bloodstained man who tries to stop the coach, maybe it’s the absence of welcoming staff, but something is definitely not right at Crater Lake activity centre. Then, at night, things get much, much stranger … but no matter what happens, don’t – ever – fall asleep! Get this exciting scary adventure book today!

Amazon Bestseller | Times Children’s Book of the Week, March 2020

29 in stock

Praise for the book

‘This is howlingly funny horror for beginners, Jennifer Killick, the author of the Alex Sparrow series and Mo, Lottie and the Junkers, has a fine ear for comic dialogue. She also makes little stabs at educational “norms”, especially the social eugenics of secondary school transfers – Lance knows he will never get into Bing, the selective school Chets is heading for. It’s also big on heart as the children reveal their secret “weaknesses” and so gain the strength they need.’ Alex O’Connell, The Times Children’s Book of the Week and included in The Times 20 Children’s Books for Summer 2020

‘A darkly hilarious treat for those of eleven plus.’ Philip Womack, Literary Review

‘This is the fifth book by Jennifer Killick and it contains everything that we have grown to love from her writing. Realistic and personable characters, authentic dialogue and a cracking sense of humour. Somehow she manages to make even the most surreal characters and situations seem believable. But this time she has upped the ante a little and made the perfect horror/thriller for children 9 +.’ Mister Bodd

‘The perfect balance of creepy, gross and funny.’ Library Girl and Book Boy

‘Horror, humour and heart wrap around a plot that cranks up the tension from the start to heart-thumping effect. Don’t ever fall asleep it warns. There was never any fear of that; I couldn’t put it down!’ Miss Cleveland is Reading

‘Thrills, giggles and a whole lot of heart. Crater Lake might not be the best venue for a school trip, but it makes for a fantastic read.’ Book Worm Hole

Crater Lake is the kind of book I’ll give to students who claim they hate reading because I know it will help turn the tide.’ Portable Magic Dispenser

‘A brilliant fast paced adventure to get your heart pumping. I read it in one sitting, completely engrossed and with adrenaline coursing through my veins.’ My Shelves are Full

‘Jennifer Killick’s latest book is full of sharp dialogue … a winning combination of horror & humour with a strong emphasis on loyalty, friendship & teamwork. A wonderfully sinister read!’ Clare Wilkins, 

2 reviews for Crater Lake

  1. Laura Reid

    Believe the hype. I loved this sci-fi/horror/thriller of a book. Killick’s writing is original, and I believe will engage some readers who haven’t quite found that perfect book yet. From the start the book pulls you right onto that coach and you’re hooked. I look forward to pressing this book into the hands of our year 5 and 6s!
    Aside from the horror there are important lessons about friendship and never underestimating someone, or indeed judging them too soon. Lance is a lovable rogue with similar characteristics to children I have known and loved, Killick has created characters children will identify with.
    From the moment things take a turn for the worse I wanted to know how things turned out, but didn’t want the book to end… I miss Lance, Katja, Mak, Ade and Chets!

  2. Liam James

    Don’t ever fall asleep, it says. Ha! As if I could!

    This book is completely thrilling from start to finish. I literally felt myself jump in the first chapter, and it just keeps going. It’s not all jump-scares though there are a fair few of them. No, there’s a beautifully constructed tension that builds and builds as the story develops. At first it’s the mystery. We know from the opening sequence that there’s something wrong, but we need to put the clues together with the book’s protagonists to work out just what it is and how much trouble they are in. After that the peril feels very real as they chase around and are chased in turn.

    This is sci-fi horror with scary monsters and a smattering of scientific explanation, without ever getting too bogged down in technical detail. And while it is undoubtedly thrilling, there shouldn’t be anything in here that makes it unsuitably scary for its target audience of 9-12 year olds. It’s a good scare, without ever crossing over into being too gruesome or haunting.

    It is also funny. Very funny. Sitting in my chair cackling aloud to myself funny. A lot of the humour is in the language, some of the phrases used are just brilliant, and very fitting for the age range. But some of the sequences, particularly some of the stories the kids tell each other are just outright hilarious. There’s less toilet humour than in Jennifer’s earlier books, though there’s still a smattering of poo references and a very funny fart, but I honestly think it’s the funniest book she’s written and one of the funniest books I’ve read in ages. It also has all of the contemporary cultural references that we’ve come to expect from Jennifer.

    You know what I love about books like this? It’s that it’s not just about the humour, the silly jokes, it’s not about the running around being chased by monsters peril. It’s that they have all of that, and a lot of heart too. Crater Lake definitely doesn’t disappoint in that respect. It’s one of the book’s absolute strengths. Lance, our hero, struggles academically, he’s not sporty, he’s not particularly popular, but he doesn’t let that define him or what he’s capable of. He also has underlying health issues and problems at home that have a significant impact on him socially.

    The other characters are brilliant too. Trent, the bully, is a nasty piece of work, though ultimately as pathetic as many bullies turn out to be. Adrianne, the Head Girl, is one of my favourites. She is just so Bad-A, and gets so many awesome lines. She’s truly inspiring. Big Mak and Katja really grew on me as the story progresses. They all have their strengths and their vulnerabilities, and the way they work together as a group is a wonderful thing to see.

    This would be the perfect book for any children going through health related issues and feeling like it is starting to define them or impact on their relationships. There’s a truly beautiful sequence where Lance realises that he isn’t the only one with issues and secrets, and this is a book that really knows the importance of trust and friendship. It never simplifies it either. There are complex messages in there about when to stand back and let people by themselves, when and how to support, and how not everyone is going to be the cool people who support you no matter what. Every group has their bullies, I guess, and that reality is not ignored here.

    Thrills, giggles and a whole lot of heart. Crater Lake might not be the best venue for a school trip, but it makes for a fantastic read.

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