Review: Getaway by Zoje Stage

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It was supposed to be the perfect week away… Imogen and Beck, two sisters who couldn’t be more different, have been friends with Tilda since high school. Once inseparable, over two decades the women have grown apart. But after Imogen survives a traumatic attack, Beck suggests they all reunite to hike deep into the Grand Canyon’s backcountry. A week away, secluded in nature… surely it’s just what they need.

But as the terrain grows tougher, tensions from their shared past bubble up. And when supplies begin to disappear, it becomes clear secrets aren’t the only thing they’re being stalked by. As friendship and survival collide with an unspeakable evil, Getaway becomes another riveting thriller from a growing master of suspense and “a literary horror writer on the rise” (BookPage).


I have been a fan of Zoje Stage since Baby Teeth, so I was excited to start reading Getaway. The story is about two sisters and their best friend reuniting after drifting apart years earlier to go on a week long hike into the Grand Canyon. This seems like a pretty boring premise, and for the first bit, it is not the most exciting book. There is a great amount of hiking and camping and walking and not much action. I did not know where this was going, but when it took a turn, I found myself gripped with the intensity of the situation. Maybe it is because I have heard stories from other campers and backpackers who have literally almost died in the Grand Canyon. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago that focuses on ultramarathon running. One of the guests told the story about how she went to hike in the Grand Canyon and underestimated it, to the point where they had to get some park rangers to help her get out. She says that she hiked and ran hundred mile races all over America, and even though she watched YouTube videos and studied maps, she still underestimated what hiking through the canyon is like. Maybe this true story put me in the mindset that these three women were in danger from the beginning simply because of the adventure they chose. After they were hiking the first two days, I wondered what kind of danger they were hiking toward. 

The truth is that this book felt tense to me the entire time. I knew something was always just around the corner, and most of the third act, I wondered how deep they were going to be pushed into the canyon by their desperation. The main character, Imogen, is the biggest focus and the other two characters really suffer for this. I did not feel very close to the other two women, and how they perceived the danger they were feeling because their perspectives were not presented. It might have been more successful as a third person with alternating perspectives instead of solely being focused on Imogen. Also the reasoning for the trip kind of gets lost in the plot. There are a few moments where they are confronting one another by the events in their past, but most of this is very soft compared to the rest of the story. The resolution between the three women seems more like a bonding over the trip than the actual forgiveness of the past.

Even with these flaws, Getaway is lush and gorgeous, and I do love the way that Stage constructs the story, making the tension so fierce that I could not stop reading it. I did not plan to read this entire novel in two days, but I had forgotten how great Zoje Stage is at painting the picture and pulling us into the story. I remember being pulled into Baby Teeth in the same way. I do feel like it is not a good as this first novel, but I did enjoy Getaway because of the writing and the tension that is created. The people who will really love this are people who have hiked these trails and camped in the Grand Canyon because they understand that the whole idea of the trip has an element of danger to it from the very beginning.

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