Review: The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan

The Art of Escaping is a story about family, friendships, and finding the courage inside of us. It celebrates the power of supportive friendships, the kind that lift you up, that challenge you to do the things you never dreamed you could.


Seventeen-year-old Mattie has a hidden obsession: escapology. Emphasis on hidden. If anyone from school finds out, she’ll be abandoned to her haters. Facing a long and lonely summer, Mattie finally seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist. Following in Houdini’s footsteps, Miyu helps Mattie secretly transform herself into an escapologist and performance artist.

When Will, a popular athlete from school, discovers Mattie’s act at an underground venue, Mattie fears her secret persona will be exposed. Instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie a secret not even his girlfriend knows. Through a blossoming friendship, the two must find a way to express their authentic selves.

Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.


book review the art of escaping by erin callahan(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Art of Escaping is a story about friendship. But it’s also about finding our inner strength and exploring our relationships with our family members. It deals with that turbulent time when you aren’t sure about college and that moment where we all feel a little lost. We’re scared to embark on a path. The fear keeps us rooted to that very spot. To the status quo. And sometimes we need a little push.

From the synopsis, it can seem simpler than it really is. Not only is the plot more complex – including mentor/mentee relationships, multiple fraught relationships with mothers, and betrayal – but there are sections of Callahan’s writing which just stop you. There are little glimmers of writing which just shines through. They are so genuine, so real, sentences that just reach out and grab you by a sliver of the darkness, the fear, the dread in your soul. The Art of Escaping deals with the situations, the relationships you want to escape from, and the knowledge that sometimes you have to face your fears, sometimes you have to embrace that one moment before you walk away.

The Art of Escaping is the perfect beach summer escape read – see what I did there? But it deals with some amazing themes such as family, and the power that friendship has to give us strength, to encourage us to be braver and confront our fears. Check out The Art of Escaping on Goodreads.


What book would you take to the beach?

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