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 them team up, Nate has a true shot at winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…
|CW: Acrophobia, mild panic attacks, parental neglect, emotional abuse, racist microaggressions, bullying, mention of death of a loved one|
Korean-American, Indian (side character)
Kdrama meets American high school romance, The Perfect Escape was cute…
When first saw The Perfect Escape on Goodreads, I thought it looks like a good book, you can’t imagine how happy I was when I was presented an offer to read an Advanced Review Copy.
The Perfect Escape follows Nate Kim and Kate Anderson two high schoolers in their senior year who meet at the zombie escape room they work at, develop a quick friendship and crush, and later on enter a zombie themed survival competition to win a grand price.
The Perfect Escape is a kdrama-esque book and it shows from the characterisation and almost every other aspect of the book. Nate, the male MC, is a first generation Korean-American kid from a poor family and a scholarship kid. While Kate on the other hand, is the sole child of the CEO of one of the leading tech companies in country with an absent and controlling father. Even the match — cute poor boy x rich girl — is very kdrama like which is kind of cute, especially with how the author went about it, removing most of the power imbalance and just leaving the cute romance.
While the combination of kdrama and American High school romance was mostly cute. The problems that exist when you mix two dramatic types of TV together wasn’t escaped out in this book. The Perfect Escape was cute and had almost Nollywood level drama. In simpler words, it was unbelievably dramatic, with really took down some of my enjoyment of this book.
Another thing I didn’t feel quite comfortable with in the book was a certain stereotype about immigrant parents. It really grated on my nerves when I first saw it, but in later scenes it rub me off as much. I also had to remind myself to trust in the author to know what she was doing as she’s Korean American herself and I cannot know her reality more than her, especially when stereotype doesn’t necessarily mean falsehood.
The writing was simple and easy to follow which lended to the voices of the characters being cute and relatable. The pacing was mostly ok, a little in between fast and slow and not being too much of either. The plot focus was vastly different in two halves of the book. The first half and up to 60% was about building on the characters, their motivations, experiences and their relationships and the second half was about the romance. I know I mentioned I enjoyed the romance, even doubly so because it wasn’t something I expected to enjoy given it was insta love. I usually hate insta-love as a trope because I find it cringy and unrealistic, but The Perfect Escape just seemed cute and natural.
The characters were cute…
I liked the characters in The Perfect Escape and I thought they were relatable, especially Nate.
Nate was a kid in a Asian- American home with all the rules and expectations in being one. I found I related to him; the Kim household rules (which basically like all POC household rules) and being an elder brother. Nate thrived to make his parents proud of him and worked harder than his peers because of his background. Picking up multiple talents and working hard in school. Apart of this, Nate was also sweet, awkward and thoughtful. He was an endearing character.
Kate was also cute. With her love for theatre, nerdiness and understanding, I loved her character. She was really fun to read about and mature.
I liked their friendships, the different friends they had, and the friendship between the main characters themselves.
Overall, it was cute…
The Perfect Escape was a cute book and fun one to escape into when everything else is intense. If you love kdrama, zombies and nerds, you’ll like The Perfect Escape.
As a side note: I’ll recommend checking Own voices reviews. I haven’t had the time to check them, but when I do I’ll link them here.