->''I go places sometimes...''


As Blake, an ordinary teenager, walks through an amusement park, a strangely familiar young woman offers him "an invitation to ride." He's not quite sure what it means, but when his thrill-seeking brother slips into a coma, he's convinced the invitation is to blame. At the specified address, he and his friends find a different park, one that doesn't seem to have a name, and doesn't ask for any payment to enter...

''Full Tilt'' is a novel by Neal Shusterman (author of ''Literature/{{Unwind}}''), falling somewhere between the horror and fantasy genres.

Compare ''Literature/SomethingWickedThisWayComes''.


!!Tropes include:
* AmusementParkOfDoom
* AndIMustScream: Those who die in the park appear somewhere in the scenery--a cloud, a rock, a billboard. They're sometimes smiling, but their eyes always look scared. [[spoiler:In the end, Cassandra's face appears in the wreckage of Blake's car.]]
** The Works is a slightly less direct version of this, with human laborers literally merged with the machinery they operate, working for all eternity.
* ChekhovsArmory: There is a ''lot'' of foreshadowing in the third chapter, especially when Blake looks around his room.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Russ seems to be this, although the plot prevents it from becoming clear. He definitely clings to Maggie a little too strongly, and sees Blake as a potential rival for her affections.
* DeadToBeginWith: Blake wonders if this is the case--they only find Cassandra's park after they nearly crash their car, and if Quinn got there through his coma, it's a reasonable assumption the others are comatose or dead as well. [[spoiler:When the park is destroyed, they find themselves "waking up" in the car, [[OrWasItADream but it doesn't seem to have been a dream]].]]
* [[spoiler:DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu]]
* DoesThisMakeMeLookFat: Maggie's question regarding a funhouse mirror. Gets a CallBack in [[spoiler:the [[BodyHorror mirror maze]].]]
* DirtyCoward: Russ initially has no idea how to handle the situation--he tries to snark at the bizarre happenings, but he's even more panicked than Blake is. Later, [[spoiler:he's willing to betray Blake to escape. When this fails, he tries to simply [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere run for it]]--which [[ClosedCircle backfires]] [[FateWorseThanDeath badly]].]]
* DumbJock: Russ.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Parodied. [[spoiler:Blake and Quinn have to guide a spaceship through an AsteroidThicket. To make it harder, the asteroids have been replaced with Pintos, which explode on contact.]]
* FinalBossNewDimension: Technically, ''all'' of the rides are new dimensions, but the seventh ride is the only one to take place [[spoiler:in space.]]
* FoeYay: In-universe. It's canon. It's very, very canon. On Blake's part, it's mostly physical attraction, but on Cassandra's part, it's that she's finally got someone ''interesting'' to play with.
* GaussianGirl: Blake describes Cassandra as "an impressionist painting in a soft gallery spotlight."
* GrowingUpSucks: Many of Blake's fears relate to his impending adulthood.
* HallOfMirrors: The fourth ride is a maze of grotesquely distorted mirrors. It's possible to [[DungeonBypass step through them]], but doing so will [[BodyHorror warp your shape to match the mirror]]. [[spoiler:There's no exit, but the mirrors start to cancel out as you approach the end--you need to accept temporary mutilation to escape.]]
* IKnowWhatYouFear: A good portion of Cassandra's schtick. Interestingly, it's observed early on that she has ''never'' felt fear, only watched it from the outside, and she genuinely wants to know exactly how her victims feel. [[spoiler:Blake is the first person to scare her.]]
* ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: This is why Blake both interests and disturbs Cassandra. She tailors each ride to her target's weaknesses, but Blake's too average to have many weaknesses, and too adaptable not to compensate for them. At various points, she taunts him, [[WeCanRuleTogether offers him a job]], and [[spoiler:begs him to give up.]]
* JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind: The seventh ride.
* [[spoiler:LoadBearingBoss]]: [[spoiler:The park collapses with Cassandra's death]].
* MercyRewarded: Quinn first saves a kid who's being attacked by a park worker, then spares the park worker's life. This gets him out of a ''very'' ugly situation later.
* NiceHat: Quinn's hat with a picture of a hand with the middle finger up. He likes it because he can flip people off without having to move.
* NightmarishFactory: The Works, where enslaved youths operate the machinery that keeps the park running.
* NobodyCallsMeChicken: Blake reacts very, very badly when anyone makes fun of his fear of fast vehicles.
* NotAGame: But Maggie decides to treat it like one, and seems to be enjoying herself. This is why Blake concludes that there's no ''way'' she's getting out of the park alive.
* NothingIsScarier: Russ goes insane and tries to kill Blake by stabbing and bashing his brains in with a wooden pole after he rides the ferris wheel. When Blake asks Russ what was on the ferris wheel,he simply sobs and tries to kill him again. We never do find what was on it.
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: From Russ and Maggie's perspective, Blake spends most of the novel OOC--they've never seen him this freaked out before, and they're alarmed that he's now willing to take risks and break rules.
* OrderVersusChaos: Peculiarly played. Both Blake and Cassandra are an even mix of traits, but Blake is orderly through perfect balance, and Cassandra is chaotic through a lack of cohesion, described as "intense heat encased in intense cold." (Quinn is also portrayed as chaotic, but in a very different way.)
* PhysicalGod: Cassandra.
--> She's the tidal wave that wiped out the Minoans. She's the eruption that leveled Pompeii. Whenever something horrible happens in the world-something senseless-whenever there are no survivors, Cassandra is there.
* PsychicPowers: Quinn is "out of phase with reality," capable of seeing things that aren't, strictly speaking, there. This is emphatically ''not'' a good thing.
* RealityIsOutToLunch: Each ride has its own laws of physics.
* RidiculouslyAverageGuy: What Blake's "balance" comes down to.
* ScheduleFanatic: How Blake compensates for his fear of the unexpected. (As he later puts it, "I hadn't lived a real life--I'd just had a model of a life. Everything I did was suspended safely by strings.")
* TraumaInducedAmnesia: Blake can't remember the details of the bus accident that nearly killed him as a child. [[spoiler:The "final ride" is living through the beginning of the accident over and over, his only possible escape being acceptance of what really happened.]]
* TreacherousAdvisor: Borderline parodied. In real life, it's theorized that King Tut was murdered by his advisors. When Quinn gets into a ride where he essentially becomes King Tut, Blake mentions this to him--right before finding out that Quinn's advisor is ''Cassandra''.
* TrueFinalBoss: The [[spoiler: eighth ride]].
* WeirdnessCensor: Most of the minor characters don't quite get that they're not in a regular amusement park, and that they're going to die if they don't take things seriously.
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Blake tells Maggie this constantly, but it never quite sticks.