Title: The Last Siege
Author: Jonathan Stroud
What it's about: Emily, Simon, and Marcus decide to explore the old castle near their neighborhood. Usually just a tourist attraction, over the days of winter, it becomes a stronghold for the three unlikely friends. However, the games of playing the castle's defenders soon becomes a reality as the three have to withstand a siege if they want to keep their freedom.
What I thought: For whatever reason, I read the description of the book as it suggesting something supernatural involving the siege that goes on in the later part of the book. Not a far stretch, given the sort of stuff Stroud has also written, like the Bartimaeus Trilogy or even Heroes of the Valley. But despite this being an entirely realistic book, it held my attention. Stroud's very good at evoking atmosphere; I could feel the creepiness of the abandoned castle at night. And the interaction between the three characters is realistic and interesting to watch develop and play out. Marcus's motivations also add to the suspense of the story, keeping you guessing the whole time.
Overall: Suspenseful, with a satisfactory conclusion.