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Carousel #1


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Nox is an arts graduate wondering what to do with his life. Taylor and Lizzy are famous indie musicians, and Rocky works the checkouts at Target.

When they find themselves trapped in a giant shopping centre, they eat fast food, watch bad TV and wait for the mess to be sorted. But when days turn to weeks, a sense of menace grows.

352 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2015

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About the author

Brendan Ritchie

3 books36 followers
Brendan Ritchie is an early-career novelist and academic from the south coast of WA. He is the winner of the 2022 Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished manuscript and author of novels including Carousel (2015) and Beyond Carousel (2016). Brendan has a PhD in Creative Writing and has also published poetry and non-fiction in several notable journals and collections.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 65 reviews
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
681 reviews3,951 followers
November 30, 2017
She knew it was a small space, and that me and my secrets were in there somewhere

Carousel was a very unique book to me personally - because it's set in Perth (where I live!) specifically in the Carousel shopping centre, one I've been to many a time.

So all the descriptions of whats where, and what it looks like and what they're eating or doing seemed really familiar. And since there isn't many books coming out of Perth, about Perth, that was really fun and exciting for me to read.

Inspired by John Marsden's Tomorrow, When The War Began Carousel follows four characters who become trapped inside of a shopping mall, with no access to the outside world, in what they assume is an apocalyptic event. Unable to escape the mall, they battle between wanting to stay inside - where their is abundant resources, or venture into the outside world, where the situation is unknown. Although it's pitched as young adult, only one character is under 18 (Rocky, 16) The others - Nox, Lizzy and Taylor - are all in their mid twenties.


• The descriptions of the mall, and how they are using the resources inside to survive were really fun and interesting. If you like the planning aspects around Apocalypse events like me, as in "what would I do in this situation", this book has lots of details on that aspect. The characters use the food, clothes and items throughout the store to create their own home, and develop their own rules and rituals that keep them carrying on.

• Representation. The two girls in the group (who are twins) are both lesbians and that is talked about right at the start. I was worried this book might descend into that awful "you're gay but it's the apocalypse so lets hook up" cliche which, is awful, but it didn't. So yay!

• No romance. There is no romance and I liked that, because I just feel like in the apocalypse you should worry about if you're gonna die before anything else.

• Setting. Like I've said the Perth setting was really, really fun for me and I so loved the descriptions of everything and how familiar it was. At one point they ..... start talking about the place where I work it was such a trip. Anyway that was a first so it was pretty exciting.

• I did like the characters and their arcs overall. Rocky was my favourite character but I liked them all really. The book focusses on how isolation is effecting each character personally, and their way of dealing with it mentally and I thought that aspect was well done.


• UNCLEAR AND VAGUE AS TO WHY THEY IN A SHOPPING CENTRE. The book starts with Nox, the main character, meeting Taylor and Lizzy in an abandoned shopping centre. It's unclear why they're there, where everyone else is, and whats going on. You just have to assume it's the apocalypse but it's unclear. Although this aspect is given more clarity toward the end of the novel, it is still confusing, and some of the circumstances surrounding the event seem ..... a bit of a Stretch. HOWEVER, there is a sequel which I hope will clear things up

• Pacing could be a bit off. The book was really drawn out, and while the suspense and mystery was there enough to keep me turning pages, it also wasn't nail-biting and I often caught myself skimming. Exciting plot points were dropped awkwardly when they could have been exciting. For example, at one stage the characters realise someone else is in the mall with them, and they are not sure who. This was tense and exciting, and then it was a letdown.

• There were some moments or character thoughts I just found kind of cringeworthy, though I'm pretty sure it's just because I sometimes struggle with male narrators.


Overall Carousel was a fun read, and I enjoyed the setting and concept a lot. The execution was not perfect, in my opinion, but it was definitely fun and kept me turning pages. I finished this nearly 400 page book in one day so thats a pretty good effort to keep me occupied. It definitely has an addictive quality that keeps you hooked and wanting to know what happens - its just that the revelations and happenings kind of underwhelmed me when they DID happen.

Happy days though! I finished book 1 for #TheReadingQuest
Profile Image for Noa Bash.
217 reviews
April 1, 2015
Going into this, I kind of assumed this was going to be a typical YA novel, but I was happily proved wrong. I don't really know if you can classify this as a YA novel since there was only one character below the age of eighteen. The other three characters were most likely into their mid-twenties when this book took place, but I don't remember if their ages were ever said for certain. This didn't read like YA either. It was much slower and more drawn out than any YA book I've ever read. I don't know what age range I would classify this as to be honest. It doesn't really fit in any one category. That is okay, however, since this is a great book.

I loved how realistic this book was. It wasn't like the people were okay with being stuck in a mall; they all had their own sort of cabin fever (nothing near as bad as The Shining), and that made you understand their characters more. You really got to see the habit, quirks, and flaws of each and ever character in this book. The beginnings of the all characters were a bit fuzzy, but you got the basics throughout the book, and I think that for this book, thats all you really need.

I was really interested in Taylor's obsession with the doors and escape. I really understood that she felt like she was going insane as the book dragged on, and she needed to get out more so every day. Nothing was ever certain in the mall, and she wanted her life back. It was exactly what you would expect a famous indie rock person to want: freedom.

I adored the emphasis that was put on art in this book. Everything came back to art. The characters were always reading or listening to music or making music or writing, and I appreciated that the author found artists to be of utmost importance. I loved all of the music references that were weaved into this book; they may not have all been entirely necessary, but I got a better sense of who the characters were by the music that they liked. I most enjoyed the Wilco reference.

I have to appreciate the bluntness of the author's writing. If he wanted to curse, he would. It was no big thing for him. If he wanted to mention a character masturbating, thats exactly what he would do. There was no sense of what he was saying was inappropriate for the readers, and I liked that about his writing.

My only real problem with this book is that you didn't really get a full explanation of 1) why they were in the mall and 2) what the fuck happened. I really wish you got a detailed account on what happened, but I think the reason that we only got snippets was because the characters knew as little as we did. I don't hold this against this book, but I really wish there was more of a resolution to the question of why are they here.

Now I just want to touch on the ending. I liked that it was open ended, but I wish I got five to ten pages more. It would have wrapped everything up a lot better, and I think this book would have felt more complete.

To sum this book up in two words: Wow. What?
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,022 followers
March 18, 2017
So two things:
1. I really, really liked this book.
2. This book filled me with rage and I wanted to shake the characters for being dummies.

Let's deal with #1 first. I LOVED the concept of this. Like, a dystopian story where four people (incidentally, this has been billed as YA in Australia, but I hesitate to call it that when the four characters are 26, 26, 22 and 16. So I'm going with new adult) get trapped in a shopping centre with no idea of what's going on in the outside world or why they survived or why they can't escape? WONDERFUL. LOVED IT.

I loved that it's a dystopian story where only the creative survive. Two of the characters are famous twin singer/songwriters. One writes. The fourth...has some kind of artistic something that's never discussed in any detail, but it's clearly there or he wouldn't be around.

So the concept was great. I liked the characters. I loved the idea of them having everything they need to survive and forming this weird little family. I loved the weird little traditions they had between themselves. I loved the writing. I loved that all of the relationships are platonic. All of that was great.

It's also hella Australian. It's set in the Perth equivalent of Chadstone. They set up camp in Myer, in Dymocks, in JB Hifi, in Target. They go to the Red Rooster in the food court to see if there are any corn cobs left. They watch the seasons changing from the third floor of David Jones. They eat TimTams. It's Australian with a capital A.

#2 is totally a me thing, but the way that these dorks handled their food situation? WAS SO FREAKING ANNOYING TO ME.

So there's a Coles and a Woolworths in this shopping centre. They're at opposite ends of the space. JB Hifi is their living room area, and that's closer to Coles, so they use that as their main supermarket and they don't go to Woolworths unless they're down that end. We're told that they don't go in the fresh food and veggies section of either supermarket because it's full of rotting grossness. Similarly, they closed the roller door on the independent greengrocer and just walked away when it started smelling bad.

Okay, but here's the thing: you're in a shopping centre. I know it has snooty homewares stores because you go there multiple times in the course of the story. You know what snooty homewares stores have? PRESERVING JARS AND BIG SAUCEPANS. You know what Dymocks has? COOKBOOKS. You know what Coles and Woolworths and that greengrocer have? FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES THAT YOU CAN PRESERVE/PICKLE/TURN INTO JAM. You know what else Coles and Woolworths and half the food court places have? Big ol' freezers. You still have electricity and water. Take that fresh food before it goes off and PRESERVE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

It made me irrationally angry that instead of doing something productive with that food, they just let it rot.

The same goes for almost exclusively using supplies from Coles, because when they DO go to Woolworths? They find an entire section of TimTams and get all excited about it, but LOL NOPE the TimTams are past their use-by date and they're gross and squishy. YOU LOSE.


In short, I loved this but it also made me headdesk.
Profile Image for Liz.
88 reviews3 followers
April 22, 2015
Carousel is about 4 young people who are trapped in a mall for months; they have all the resources they need, but they can’t escape. This book was extremely slow; there wasn’t a lot of action happening throughout the book. Every once in a while something would happen that would peak my interest and I thought the story was going somewhere, however it wasn’t. Nothing big ever happened in the story. For 300 pages I read about the life of living in an abandoned mall. For the most part it was mundane because it was so much of the book.
I found the beginning of the book confusing, which I’m sure was intentional; however it never became any clearer. The interesting points that the author brought up were never solved. Brendan Ritchie brought up questions such as: Why were there only a few people trapped in the mall? What’s going on it the outside world? Why is there someone from outside who is able to come and go? But these questions were never answered. I read a 350 page novel about people who were trapped in a shopping centre and within the last 2 pages they were able to leave without much of an explanation. I felt like the author was building up all kinds of questions but never resolves them. I didn’t feel like the author was leaving it up to me as the reader to figure out and think about, but rather he hadn’t thought of the solution himself.
One aspect of the book I did enjoy was the development of the characters. I felt like the way the acted was accurate for being trapped somewhere for such a long time. Their thoughts and conversations were interesting and seemed accurate for people forced into survival mode. I also thought the premise of the book was intriguing. The author clearly thought about how one would survive if they were trapped in a shopping centre for a long time. It was interesting to see all the resources they had available to them and how they used them.
Overall, this was a fair book. I enjoyed the character development and the premise of the book. However, I felt like the author promised a lot and didn’t deliver. It almost felt like he didn’t think about the story thoroughly and what was happening. He didn’t offer any proper explanations for what was occurring in the book, especially the end.
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lib Mouse.
33 reviews
July 1, 2015
It's been a long time since I've stayed up all night to finish a book. I took this off the shelf at work last night and stayed up til 2 am to finish it. I'm so glad I did. What an exciting debut novel from an Aussie author. I really hope this author gains some traction in the YA market - It's a tough nut to crack.

Pros - a slow burn novel that uses the premise of a global apocalypse to explore those existential questions we all seem to bump up against in our post-teenage angst.

Cons - cover. Looks like they typed the word "escalator" into Pixabay and chose the first dodgy image that came up in the results.

Read this if - you enjoy YA but want something a bit more 'grown up'. Think Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' meets Robert O'Brien's 'Z for Zachariah' meets Libba Bray's 'Going Bovine'.

Don't read this if - you want your books to have a definitive ending with all the mysteries solved. This author allows you to fill in the gaps and make up your own mind.
Profile Image for Kerran Olson.
601 reviews10 followers
November 12, 2017
3.5/4* I've been seeing this book around for a while, and hadn't bought it because to be honest, the cover and the blurb really didn't appeal to me. (yes, I judged the book by its cover). But, after a recomendation from a lecturer and meeting Brendan Ritchie twice and hearing him talk about his writing, I finally bought the book. And I liked it! So, there's the moral of the whole "don't judge a book" mantra. At first I found the writing style pretty brief, and a bit unemotive. But once I got into the story I found it really fascinating, especially when it got me thinking about having free reign over an abandoned shopping complex, which is such an interesting premise for the story. I liked the way all the characters bounced off each other and had their own complexities. I do think they could have all been explored more, a lot of their character quirks were very surface level and there wasn't a great deal of character depth to back up their motivations. But, I was hooked as the plot progressed, and I am definitely reading Beyond Carousel immediately, because I need answers!
Profile Image for DonutKnow.
2,108 reviews44 followers
August 3, 2016
Are you effing kidding me?! I feel so unsatisfied right now I want to cry!

I gave this novel a 3 out 5 because it's compelling plot of being trapped in a shopping mall kept me hooked, and hoping, for a life-changing ending that would rock me to my core because it'd be so freaking right! But I should have known from the way some key events of the plot were treated by the author.

I mean Rocky died! He died and I just felt...empty...expecting a moment of immense catharsis- but no, next chapter and we're getting back to how the main characters are trying to piece together a semblance of normality in their weirdo situation.

Ugh! It was so good. The plot was so compelling! But Nox's narrative voice was just 'Meh-I-don't-get-life-so-I'm-just-going-to-live-kicking-everything-bad-under-the-carpet-Meh.'

Meh. Meh. Meh. Meh!

He was so confusing to understand for me. And that last revelation, about Rocky, what? Ugggh. Why? I don't get it. What was going through Rocky's head? How was Nox able to get what was happening and translate it subliminally into his short story?! How?!

Too many questions unanswered than what I would be comfortable with.

Will there be a sequel? Did they survive because they were 'artists'? Where the hell is Rachel? What happened Peter (because everyone in the story seems to get it except me)? WHAT HAPPENED?!

I really, really wanted to love this book- heck, I was ready to love it, but as I've previously mentioned, the awesome plot was just shattered by Nox's 'meh-ness' that it boils my blood.

Ugh, I was to bring this down to a two but it deserves a 2.8 at least. I couldn't give it just a two, I would be lying.

Anyway, if anyone else has read this book, please, let's have a chat about it so I can gain some understanding of the significance of it all.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Em.
548 reviews42 followers
June 24, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I've previously pondered what would happen if I were trapped in a shopping centre overnight (I know there'd be a shortage of chocolate afterwards), but this takes it further. What if I were trapped for months?

The characters were all well written and consistent, which is really important to me. I found them interesting and I liked the way Nox, the narrating character, explained things.

I liked reading about the everyday activities. They helped me understand the characters and emphasised how mundane it could be to be trapped in the same shops people visit for fun. It helped build the suspense as they tried new ways to escape, interspersed with just trying to keep themselves together.

Part way through I started wondering if I was going to end up reading a dissatisfying Stephen King-type ending -- all the build-up for nothing. Thankfully I thought the ending to Carousel was appropriate. Whew!

I think this book would make a good series like "Tomorrow When the War Began". It reminded me a bit of that -- relatable young characters trying to make sense of something bigger that happened without their awareness. I would like to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Jayde Murphy.
43 reviews
October 13, 2016
Quite possibly the worst book I've ever read. I honestly could have mistaken it for a parody if I hadn't known better. Full of plot holes, extremely flat and unrealistic characters, and ridiculously poor writing in general. I feel like I've taken a serious blow to the IQ just by reading this thing.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews84 followers
May 5, 2015
I was oddly drawn into this story, despite the fact that not much actually happens in this book. There is just such a mundane sense of the every day, from what they watch and what they eat, that when something exciting happens you actually get excited too, but then it all comes to nothing. SO many times! Haha, I wanted to cheer so many times, only to get letdown in the next sentence.

There is a super weird ending, and nothing gets explained at all. So incredibly frustrating! But the characters were awesome and realistic, from the yearning to have their own space, to the sexuality discussed, and thought of. The odd relationships that develop between the characters was interesting too. I actually didn't want a whole lot of action, so this was perfect for my mood.

While not for everyone, and not YA like I assumed since that was the shelf I choose it from, I really believe this book is worth the read. It's not really like anything else I've read, and the idea of being locked in a giant Westfield during the apocalypse sounds great to me (at least for a while)
Profile Image for Carolyn.
113 reviews21 followers
November 21, 2015
Brilliant! Like Brendan's excellent film of a couple of years ago, "Woody Island", this work is enigmatic and intensely atmospheric. We are just given a window into the characters' lives, actions and feelings. The lack of explanation, of resolution, enhances the power of the novel, as it did in Brendan's film. Like many sophisticated writers, Brendan often uses a non-linear narrative, with explanations of certain events given later in the text. His language is straightforward and economical, and reminds me a bit of the Icelandic writers that I love so much. And like them, his sense of place is immaculate.
Well done, Brendan. You are a new shining light in our literary skies, and I also hope you will favour us with another film at some stage. As a former teacher at Esperance SHS, I am bloody proud of you. I also thank my son Douglas for giving me this book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
44 reviews7 followers
July 16, 2015
The whole novel felt edgy in a sort of brilliant way. If was very different from a lot of things I have read before, which I liked. I like the way some details were omitted from the story to show that some things were emotionally tormenting for them. This thoroughly creeped me out and I may be lucky if I ever step into another shopping centre again; especially the one drawn upon for this book; it's about ten to fifteen minutes away from where I live.
Profile Image for Lyndall Rae.
76 reviews26 followers
August 26, 2017
I bought Carousel after receiving the sequel (Beyond Carousel) in a Goodreads giveaway from the author. It was a slow burn but interesting enough to keep me from putting it down.

I found the book to be a little confusing in the beginning; why were these 4 people stuck in a shopping centre and why was no one else trying to enter? The more I read, the more I liked how the author explained certain things and events after they had happened. Super mysterious, bit of suspense, and YA/NA all in one.

It was an interesting concept and premise, and I liked the relationships between the characters. but I just found it was lacking in some areas and their time in the centre was dragged out.

The ending left me impatient to know what awaited them outside so on to Beyond Carousel. :)
Profile Image for Yochabel.
2 reviews
November 18, 2017
This book was so short, I know I would have finished quicker if I wasn’t working basically every day. It was a very easy read & I was intrigued but I didn’t quite like the writing style & the fact that I’m left with so many questions.

I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to really want to read Beyond Carousel (the sequel) but I might if I can’t actually google the answers to my questions! :p
Profile Image for Alannah .
209 reviews49 followers
July 19, 2017
I really enjoyed this. There was an air of mystery about the whole situation that really had me wanting more.
Profile Image for Judy Nickless.
203 reviews1 follower
August 13, 2018
I loved this creepy little book ! Such a random find while shelf checking at work.
I am going to have a book hangover for a day or two.
January 10, 2017
I wanted to love it...but...it was slow, repetitive and I ended up reading till a bit before or after page 100 before I just flipped to the end pages and than put the book down forever.

It was slow. It was like reading a bland diary record of being stuck in a mall and barely reacting. I just didn't connect. It is well written of course, but the plot is bland and full of loopholes.I am not sure why it is under YA as the story is not as action filled as usual YA novels. Also the main characters are over 20.Nox was so bland and neutral towards everything. The setting of the mall was meh. The characters interactions were meh. The climaxes were pretty much non-existent but if it was it was meh.

Even at the end of the book -having not read the whole middle sections- I could still understand what was going on. A few characters came in but didn't seem important. A few died... some guys offed himself like 3 days (probably longer...) into being trapped and they only found out via security footage at the end of the book.

They didn't even feel trapped. Trapped in a YA book to me feels like lack off food, lack of resources, lack off space, a threat. But no they had a whole damn mall. It would of been cool to see a rival group or maybe see Rocky snap and everything become a game of cat and mouse...anything...something...we need climaxes!


The story has no climax, no threat, no danger. It's simply 4 young adults stuck in a mall and the bare minimum happens for what you'd expect from a group of people stuck in a massive, empty mall. They are in there for...wait for it...almost two years and the only thing that stuck out was...well...nothing.

Nox, Rocky and the twins didn't react to the situations as I thought they would. Stuck in a mall for more than a week would have me ramming at the doors and in tears- not chilling out. They are stuck in a mall alone, the shops are empty and the outside world has gone quiet yet there is no real urgent concern drawn towards it.

Four characters in a massive mall makes it feel unfamiliar each time you pick up the book no matter how often you establish where they eat breakfast or watch movies. In my head the mall was too vast, too unexplored by the book that I couldn't really grasp the environment as a whole.

Their tactics for survival were lazy and unexciting... because their was nothing to survive against. I would of loved to seem the boarding up doors with tables from Myers and making weapons out of metal trampoline poles and kitchen knifes from Kmart, they had lots of creative resources but they touched none of it because there was no need. If the world had gone dead silent and no one else was seen or heard wouldn't you be more on edge or trying to use one of the radios in the hundred+ stores? Their food plan really got me- All the fresh food should of been thrown into freezers and every one knows you can eat canned foods for AGGGES past the best before date.

And at the end when they FINALLY exited the mall..why didn't they go back for the packed bags of supplies Nox made up (unless they had them and I didn't pick up on it)? Once they got out they were about to go into a potential threat but went empty handed?? Was it really that hard to exit a mall with dozens of doors you could of broken through? Why didn't they start planning to leave the first door they got open months ago?

You cant have the world seemingly dead, 4 people trapped in a mall and no action. It was like reading about the life of a bunch of mall rat squatters.

There doesn't have to be a full on danger and action in every YA 'trapped in a mall and the world outside is dead' story and I appreciate this book for the angle it took but I guess it just is not for me...at all. They were just 4 dudes in an empty mall. There's no interesting threat and they just eat junk food and watch Friends. I couldn't handle story line as a 2 hour movie (if it was one) let alone a decent sized YA novel. Nothing happens for the first 100 pages so I gave up, sorry Brendan Ritchie.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anika Claire.
Author 3 books44 followers
September 28, 2016
Wow. Despite its gentle pace, this story is certainly tense and very creepy. I am so glad that I have the second book to get stuck into right away, though, because that cliff hanger ending answered no questions at all!

More soon..
Profile Image for Kay.
6 reviews
November 23, 2015
Australian by authorship, brimming with obscenities and so much darker than I was looking for for a midnight read, but oh so worth it.

Carousel is a quite different type of YA novel, and it's really the sort of thing I think everyone needs to at least try reading. It's not a long read, but that takes nothing away from how stimulating it is, nor how just outright creepy it can get for such an innocent sounding concept.

Three young people; Nox, a bit of a drop-kick who majored in arts and is now employed at a stationary store, & his polar opposites, Taylor & Lizzy, Canadian twins famous for their music, being outright lesbians & 'awesome hair'. The three find themselves trapped together in a deserted mall with no explanation & no way out. The course of the novel follows their lives during this apocalyptic time & the edgy & dark events that lurk in every empty department store.

I'll be honest - it's not an eloquent novel. Throwing in casual terms like 'jerk-off', no proper use of 'got to' anywhere to be found, and every second word being 'fuck', but in all honesty, this doesn't take away from what the story is. The book is casually explaining a new apocalyptic fantasy, the characters are dealing the only way they know how, and absolutely nothing about this story feels forced. In fact it's so light and casual, that the full on creepiness of it is basically a slap in the face AND a kick in the ass. I need to say it, this is one seriously dark novel and this is one of the few books I've read that is so effortlessly unsettling that it makes me want to applaud the author for hours on end.

The characters are relatable in reaction and response, the dialogue is almost impossibly realistic, and the scenario is so open to any interpretation as to WHY that there isn't a real answer that can stop your skin from crawling. It's a story that has you just feeling for the duration of it.

It's not without fault, of course. It's left just that little bit too open at the end for it to feel completely finished, and even the pure bluntness of it can become a little grating in sections, but these aren't that hard to look past to appreciate the rest of the novel aside.

It's dark, it's emotional, and it's so bloody Australian, but it's good, like really good.

100 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2016
Possibly 3.5 stars

Like another reviewer, I am confused as to why this has been classed as YA. Nox, the narrator, is 22, and the indie music sisters are older than him. Rocky is the only teenager in the book and he isn't a main character. Surely this makes it fiction not YA fiction. I was disappointed with the blurb on the back of the book too. It gave the impression that this was an 'apocolypse' novel with characters trying to survive after being locked in a shopping center. Not just locked in. They couldn't even break out which alluded to something supernatural. It wasn't an apocolypse novel at all. It was about friendship in unlikely circumstances and how we deal with isolation and ignorance of the outside world.

Having said that, I did enjoy this book. It was well written, the characters were totally relatable and while nothing much happened, it gave a good idea of what could happen to a person mentally in such a situation.

There were too many problems with this book to give it more stars despite it being well written. The supernatural elements were never explained and this actually let the story down. Why couldn't they break out? (I have worked in a shopping center and it honestly wouldn't be hard to break out.)

Not a bad book, but a disappointment.
Profile Image for Michaela.
205 reviews
August 2, 2016
Brendan Ritchie and M. Night Shyamalan would make great friends. This novel is written exactly like one of M. Night Shyamalan's films. A mind fuck, and Twilight Zone (black and white original) style feel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but if you are not a fan of the afore mentioned styles of novel and television show then this is not the book for you.

Three teenagers, a boy and two girls are brought to this empty mall called 'Carousel' and left there by a taxi. Another older boy is found later curled up in the back of Target.

Why are they there? Why can't they leave? (The doors are sealed, and the windows are too thick.) Things get boring. Things become slow. (The writing drones on in some sections.) A form of Cabin Fever sets in. Did something happen to the world outside? Why is no one coming to open the mall? Why are there no shoppers? If they do escape, what lives will they return to after a lengthy time has past?

There are tons of questions and very few answers.

Profile Image for Lou | bookswithlou.
577 reviews5 followers
April 1, 2015
I'm not really sure what I just read.

From the premise - people being trapped in a giant shopping centre with no way out - I was thinking this book was going to be set over maybe 48 hours or so, probably should have guessed from the cover that it was going to be a lot longer.

Honestly the book wasn't bad it was just a little bit slow and I don't think it really offered any proper explanations or resolutions for what was going on and what happened throughout that book.
358 reviews13 followers
June 17, 2019
I would give this YA book 4.5 stars. Four people are locked inside a large shopping mall and they don't seem to be able to open any of the outside doors, no matter how hard they try. It sounds like it wouldn't be too bad but they are actually locked in there for quite some time and I enjoyed reading about the routines they set up, the different relationships between the characters etc. A really enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Cushla Dragon.
9 reviews
June 30, 2020
This book was great. It was really realistic and the characters were relatable. Everything had a reason. In the book Carousel, four people are trapped inside a giant shopping centre in Perth and they have no idea what's going on or how to get out. There is no spoilers in this review.
The book is really fun to read. It wasn't as creepy as I expected it to be, and it was really nice. The characters were really relatable, especially Taylor, Lizzy and Nox. The way Nox chooses just a single bed, or how they all gravitate towards one homely TV really makes the characters feel real. The use of the brands and places, like JB - HiFi, Coles, Perth and the Carousel which is an actual shopping centre in Perth, made everything so much more connected. The situation they were in was surreal and unrealistic, but because of these little touches it made it feel real.
All the cabin fever and longing to get out was really perfect, considering the pandemic we are going through right now.
If I could offer some feedback it would have been the plot. The idea and little parts were spot on perfect but it never seem to connect. Things just happened and there was no suspense or climax until the last page. And even then, it feels anticlimactic the way it ends.
Other than that, amazing book. It felt really homely, which I love in books, and the idea was great. My family loves to fantasise about the zombie apocalypse and bunkering down in a shopping centre, so this book was perfect even if it lacked zombies.
Well done Brendan!!!!!! 👏👏👏👏👏👏
Profile Image for Jess Kramer.
112 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2021
1. Biscuits don’t go out of date within 6 months, and most of the food mentioned could still be eaten after the date since they are “best before” foods, not “use by” foods.
2. What are the chances of getting 4 equally ridiculously apathetic people in the same place, and they’re all supposed to be creative folk? 90% of creative people I know are the opposite of apathetic. But there isn’t any other explanation for the slow, uncaring and unthinking way the characters worked at an escape or figuring stuff out - especially at those times when they had discovered something and had hope. But they would discover something out of the ordinary but then “forget” about it for a week when there wasn’t anything else in their lives to make them forget something like that?!
3. The synopses I found made this book sound more thriller, you know, “a sense of menace grows” etc. But there was no menace, no danger, nothing - just a diary of day-to-day life in an abandoned shopping centre with a handful of other people. Characters mentioned food running low and growing their own, but then pick and choose what they want to eat from the shelves and also leave food that was “slightly stale”.
4. There was no explanation of the “twist” at the end with Rocky. I think the author tried by matching Rocky with Nox’s bus story, but it made no sense.

Ultimately an unsatisfying book with many frustrating plot holes and lack of research, and very disappointing because it was such an awesome concept!

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
January 18, 2018
I was really excited by the concept of this book, and also really happy to see that it is set in my country, Australia!
What kept me enthusiastically reading this book was the mystery! Even though the majority of the book was based around their survival and adaptation to life in Carousel (which was admittedly quite bland sometimes), I just had to keep reading to find out 1). what happened to Earth and 2). why they were stuck inside this enormous shopping centre.
So having reached the end of the book, you could definitely say I was very disappointed and disheartened to find no answers to these questions at all. The lack of major answers at the end of the book after all of the build up definitely led to me allocating a low rating to this book.

I do however, maintain hope that "Beyond Carousel" provides me the answers I was searching for in "Carousel".
Profile Image for Jessica.
30 reviews
January 29, 2021
Carousel is about four young adults who are trapped in a shopping centre in Perth with no way of getting out and no access to the outside world, where they believe an apocalyptic event has occurred.

As they are trapped in a shopping centre, they have everything they need to survive – plenty of food and water, clothing, somewhere to sleep, and the electricity still works. But of course, being trapped made the characters go a little stir crazy as even though they were safe, they were imprisoned.

I really enjoyed that it was an Australian book, they would go to shops that we know to get clothing and to eat. Each of the characters were written well and very realistic – not a lot happens in the book, but there’s a lot of mystery around what has happened to the world, this kept me hooked and I couldn’t put the book down.
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