For What It's Worth

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Review: The Perfect Escape (The Perfect Escape #1) by Suzanne park

Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?

Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and Kate needs the money too.


If the two of th
em team up, Nate has a true shot at winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact… ~ Goodreads

Source: E-arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: My friend saw this one on Netgalley and immediately let me know about it because it seemed the perfect *Karen read* – rom-com + zombies so I requested it on the spot.

Fast forward a few months and all the reviews are…this isn’t a rom-com, the ending left me wanting, there are no zombies.


via GIPHY

But I had already been approved and decided to just read it anyway and I’m SO glad I did. The reviewers were right about a lot of things but I enjoyed The Perfect Escape anyway.

Nate Jae-Woo Kim works as a guide for a zombie themed escape room and has dreams of starting his own survivalist company and making a boat load of money to support his struggling Korean- American family. Kate is an aspiring actress working as a zombie at the escape room and lives the financially secure life of Nate’s dreams with her father – a major tech industry player – and Nate’s role model.

Despite the surface appearances – Nate is super smart and seemingly has it all together but withers under his parents expectations financial hardships and bullying at school. While Kate seems to have it all with financial stability in her high tech home. In reality, her mom has died, her father is distant while having her under constant surveillance with his high tech toys and robots.

The two come together to team up for a reality show survivalist competition so they can split the cash winnings so Nate can help his family and Kate can make a clean break and go to NY to pursue her acting dreams.

So…this isn’t really a rom-com. Nate and Kate are adorable together and have funny moments but this doesn’t meet my definition of a rom-com. There’s attraction and that pull to each other but the romance is on the light side and the plot concerning Kate and her dad got very dark for me. Maybe the definition is changing or my standards are too high but I haven’t felt like a lot of the marketed rom-com is actually rom-com lately. but I digress….

Having said all that... I found Nate & Kate (it rhymes - too cute!) to be absolutely adorable and kind hearted. Do they make mistakes? Yes. But they try to do the right thing and often sacrifice their own happiness for each other. They are good people. I also loved their friend group.

The other thing I heard repeatedly in reviews was that there were hardly any zombies. Kind of true. They work in the zombie escape room so there’s a little bit of that in the beginning and how Kate tries to perfect her zombie make up. Towards the end is the competition with robot zombies that hunt the contestant’s down and like…shouldn’t that be illegal?? lol Zombies are more of a backdrop than a major element but I thought it all worked really well and was an interesting backdrop and catalyst to move the plot forward.

What took me by surprise is how sad both Nate and Kate’s life was. Again...expecting fun rom-com vibe. I know people loved Nate’s close knit family but his baby sister was so obnoxious ( I know she was supposed to be cute but ugh) and his father’s constant judgment finding Nate lacking hurt me to read. And don’t get me started with Kate’s dad. He was next level AWFUL. Never home. Literally creating a robot to watch over her and track her vitals. I wanted to wrap these two kids in a big hug and I was so happy they found each other.

Like I said, this is marketed as a fun zombie rom-com romp and it’s not exactly that. But going into it without those expectations I found The Perfect Escape to be a thoughtful look at class, families, grief with two refreshingly open and earnest teens and yes, with quite a few fun zombie moments. I’ve been struggling with reading but this book was the whole package for me – a little bit of everything – sweet, smart, fun and kept my attention – no small task these days.

If I had one complaint it would be that Kate’s resolution with her dad was off page and it seemed too insurmountable or important to be treated like that but otherwise I adored this one and would love to spend more time with these characters or in this world.

I know a few people found the romantic resolution a little lacking too but I was ok with it. It was sweet and promising. It was a fully fleshed out - but I know these two will be solid.

As long as you know what this is and what it isn’t going in – I highly recommend this one.

33 comments:

  1. I also enjoyed this book, but I agree, not a rom-com. I didn't care as much about the zombie stuff, so there was enough of that for me, but I did want more romance. Like you said, Nate and Kate were great. Why wouldn't I want to see more of them two swooning together? I did like Nate's family though. His mother cracked me up, and I grew to understand his dad. I am glad you enjoyed it though

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    1. I did understand his dad (at least they were there and helped when it counted) but between the two dads I felt so sad for the kids. It was a more emotional book than I was expecting.

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  2. Nope, I'd get stabby rage at being promised a rom-com and not getting one. I also dislike zombies... But I like the escape room setting.
    All in all, I haven't seen a review yet that's convinced me that this could be for me but I'm glad you enjoyed it even if there were a few niggles.

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    1. I have been burned so many times lately about rom-coms. I wish they would understand they are promising a certain thing with these covers and blurb & only hurt the book when the reader doesn't get it.

      Luckily, I was prepared going in and honestly, expected to hate it.

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  3. LOL, that gif.

    I'm glad this one worked for you, despite its synopsis being misleading! I sometimes wonder if certain blurbs are purposely deceptive, or the wrong people are put in charge of them...or even...have they READ the book in the first place? LOL.

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    1. It has rom-com elements. The couple is adorable, the escape room is fun but the parental situation is so dark and the story goes off in other directions from the romance. Still good! But not a rom-com. And if that's what you pick up the book for then it's disappointing.

      It feels like they try to get in on trends and the cover and blurb are very in right now but ended up backfiring IMO with all the negative reviews.

      Which is too bad, because it's a very good book and would have been received better if it had been directed to the right reader.

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  4. That GIF... !! :)

    And wait... a zombie escape room????

    Seriously though, it sounds like this is surprisingly good!

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    1. Yes! It was one of those escape rooms where you have to solve a puzzle to proceed to the next room but if you don't a zombie horde gets you lol Fun concept and I wish there was more of it.

      It was a good book though as long as you can let go of expecataions.

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  5. I'm very intrigued by the zombie escape room, and I'm surprised it's not a rom-com I saw the cover recently and honestly just assumed it was one!

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    1. Light romantic elements not pure rom-com...imo anyway

      I wish there was more to the escape room but the zombie survival competition later in the book had a bit more.

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  6. No zombies!?!? Lol
    I am glad it still rocked, and also who want a zombie romance now, nope, too scary

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    1. There's the zombie theme escape room but hardly anything about it :=( There were robot zombies that sounded like they should be illegal or at least or grounds for a lawsuit lol

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  7. Glad that you still enjoyed it even if the reviewers were right and it wasn't what you originally expected. From your review it definitely sounds like this is not a rom com but I feel like more books are being marketed as rom coms lately when they're really not simply because it'll draw me readers in, especially ones who may have avoided romance otherwise. I don't know. But I digress, it sounds like this was still a decent book and I'm glad you enjoyed it despite having reservations.

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    1. I agree...they use the cutsey romance as a hook and then it's something different. Usually women's fiction for adult or larger life issues rather than romance focused.

      Luckily, I knew that so I was ready and really enjoyed this for what it was.

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  8. Even thought it was different from what you thought it was, it sounds like it was good.

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  9. Pity there wasn't more on the zombie escape room! Come to think of it, I need a few zombies in my reading life at the moment so maybe I need to grab one off my shelves...

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    1. That was disappointing since that's basically the title and what you expect.

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  10. It irritates me when the synopsis doesn't accurately describe the book so a zombie rom-com with neither of those features could be disappointing! Glad you took a forewarned chance and still enjoyed the read :-)

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    1. I had heard so many negative things going in so I was prepared lol

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  11. Sounds like a chill read I need to have on my shelf. I don't really need books like these to be a full blown rom-com. A light read works well for me. Definitely a good break from the many stressful books out there.
    Also, you had me at zombie escape room. That's definitely something new out there :)

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    1. I agree - I just wish they marketed as such - I think it would have led to less confusing and finding the right reader.

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  12. Well that seems like a let down even though there were some good parts to the story. I fear that so many publishers/authors are going with the "cartoon" cover and labeling RomCom - but they aren't. Sometimes its women's fiction, other times romance. It's tough.

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    1. So much this!!! It's been one of the biggest reading disappointments for me this past year. It's not that the books are bad but not what I was reading them for so I end up not liking them.

      Luckily, in this case, I had enough of a heads up and enjoyed it anyway.

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  13. I agree that the fact that there is a romance doesn't necessarily make a book a romcom. It sounds like it isn't quite what a lot of people expected, but that aside it still does a good job of delving deep into the themes it presents... and those are ones that I like!

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    1. It seems like anything with even a remote romance and one or two jokes makes it a rom-com these days and I strongly disagree lol

      I really liked it though!

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  14. Just say no to zombies!(lol) Hugs, RO

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    1. Kevin loves zombies and has worn me down over the years lol

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  15. I'm not a fan of rom-com, but I had to stop and tell you that gif made my day. 😂😂😂

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    1. Well, you're in luck - it's not a rom-com lol

      Thanks. I liked it too hehe

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  16. Darn it - it sounds like a rom-com with zombies, that's why I have it on my radar! 😂 But I'm also not surprised for some reason? I feel like lately some books have been marketed wrong - they're focusing on what seems fun, but the book is actually more in-depth? Focusing on other issues while the romance is just a sub plot? (It was definitely the case with Frankly in Love, though.)

    I'm glad you did enjoy this, though, despite not having the elements you did want.

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  17. I am happy to see that the romantic resolution worked for you. Sorry to hear that this book wasn't the rom com that was portrayed. I do think sometimes though these animated cover books aren't marketed correctly.

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