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Full Tilt

Full Tilt

For Ages: 12 and up
  • reading group guide
  • 17awards
Sixteen-year-old Blake has always been the responsible one in his dysfunctional family -- the one who drives safely, gets good grades, and looks after his wild younger brother, Quinn. Quinn is his brother's opposite -- a thrill-seeker who's always chasing the next scary rush, no matter what the cost. But Quinn and Blake are in for the surprise of their lives when they're thrust into the world of a bizarre phantom carnival -- and their souls are the price of admission.

In order to save his brother, and himself, Blake must survive seven different carnival rides before dawn. Seven rides...it sounds easy. But each ride is full of unexpected dangers, because each ride is a reflection of one of Blake's deepest fears. And the last ride is the worst one of all. Because that's the one that confronts Blake with a terrifying secret from his past -- a secret he's been running from for years.

Full of roller-coaster twists and turns, Neal Shusterman's latest page-turner is an Orpheus-like adventure into one boy's psyche.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416997481 | 
  • November 2009 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile 700
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"I Go Places Sometimes"

It began the night we died on the Kamikaze.

I should have known the night was jinxed when Quinn lost his hat on the Raptor. I wasn't sure where on the roller coaster he lost it because I didn't ride with him; my friends, Russ and Maggie, did. I had volunteered to wait in line for Icewater Rapids.

"What a nice guy," Maggie had said, giving me a peck on the cheek. Well, nice guy or not, I had my own reasons.

The loss of Quinn's hat was the first trauma of the evening, but not the first of Quinn's life. Whole galaxies of traumas revolved around my brother. I knew he wouldn't part with... see more

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for:

Full Tilt
by Neal Shusterman

About the Book
Teenaged Blake is scared of roller coasters due to a trauma he experienced when he was seven, but that doesn’t stop a mysterious young woman named Cassandra from giving him a free pass to a one-night-only amusement park. When his daredevil thirteen-year-old brother, Quinn, steals the pass, Blake convinces his best friends Maggie and Russ to go with him to bring him home. It doesn’t take Blake long to realize that this is no ordinary amusement park — each ride opens up into its own deadly world, and he discovers that if he doesn’t survive the night, Cassandra will keep his soul in the park forever.

Discussion Topics
• Blake, Quinn, Maggie, and Russ all have different reactions to the phantom amusement park. Describe the similarities and differences in their responses. How do you think you would respond?

• Cassandra describes the amusement park as a living thing that feeds on the souls of those who visit, lured by the thrill, and she herself is the park’s soul. What do you think this means?

• Blake goes into the amusement park to rescue his little brother, but Quinn doesn’t want to be saved. Blake wonders how can you help someone who refuses to be helped. What do you think is the answer to that question?

• Cassandra tells Blake that there’s a way out see more

About the Author

Neal Shusterman
Photograph © Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and The Schwa Was Here, which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.

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