Alone

Wow!  I’ll start there.  12-year old Maddie lives with her mom, step-dad, twin 9-year old brothers and new baby, Trevor.  Every other weekend she also lives with her dad and step-mom.  Everything is fine, but there are a lot of annoyances in her life – sharing a room with Trevor, checking in all the time, being there so “date nights” can happen…

Maddie crafts the perfect plan for one perfect weekend with her friends.  She tells each of her parents she’ll be with the other, but actually she and two friends will be spending the weekend at her grandparents empty summer apartment.  Maddie arrives without a problem.  She has the movies and snacks ready.  A sick friend canceled the arrival of her friends, and that’s how Maddie finds herself totally alone when the entire town is evacuated.  She knew something weird was going on, but she couldn’t risk getting in trouble so she stayed silent.

Abandoned, Maddie befriends George, one of the many pets also left behind, while she awaits her parents return.  They don’t come back and Maddie must survive on her own.  She keeps her wits about her.  She is determined to make it.  Even after she loses power, and then water, Maddie and George become adept at using the resources left for them – the library, store shelves, even neighbor’s homes.  Maddie learns from every experience.  She makes careful choices.  she survives a natural disaster, looters and a pack of “gone wild” dogs.  The one thing she cannot alleviate is the crushing loneliness.

In an ironic twist, one of the last conversations Maddie had with her brother, Elliot, was about The Island of the Blue Dolphins.  He was supposed to identify the main theme.  He had three ideas and he wanted to know what Maddie thought.  She agreed with him.  Karana’s biggest challenge would be finding food and shelter.  Still Elliot had wondered.  Now, as the protagonist of her own survival story, Maddie knew for sure what the greatest challenge was.  Elliot had been right.

Written in verse, the sparse text mirrors the striped down activities of Maddie’s life now that she is focused on life.

Happy Reading! 📚

 

Northwind

Gary Paulsen’s last book ~ so good!

Leif, orphaned at birth, raised as a wharf rat, next as a ship rat, was sent with four of the oldest, crippled crew members and the only other young boy on the ship (bought for a bolt of sail cloth) to set up a fish camp.  The rest of the crew sailed north on a seal hunt.  Those in the fish camp set about catching and smoking salmon.

After they had smoked enough fish the last the entire crew six months, they realized that the main ship was not going to come back for them.  It had been gone too long and so the six,  5-year old Little Carl, 12-year old Leif, and four seasoned seamen, including wise and caring Big Carl, created a cedar dugout large enough for all of them to return to a port to find another ship.  Before they were able to leave the fish camp, a ghost ship drifted into and out of  their bay, silently leaving a deadly sickness.

The older seamen succumbed first.  But before Big Carl became too ill, he gathered a bundle of supplies and pushed Leif and Little Carl out to sea in the canoe, advising them to head North to stay away from the sickness.  While at sea, the boys became ill too.  Leif recovers. Little Carl does not.  After burying Little Carl, Leif follows the old seaman’s advice and paddles North.  Day after day after day after week Leif paddles.  This Long Paddle is full of danger, challenge, constant change and wonder.  Leif observes carefully –  looks for new ways to understand and know – always questions and always learns.  What a journey!  You won’t regret a moment of your time with Leif.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to find a quest of your own.

Happy Reading! 📚

Sorry I was away for so long ~ I had computer issues.  They’re fixed for now.  Phew!📖

Hatchet

Trees. Dirt. Leaves. Rocks. Alone.

Brian Robeson is going to visit his father in Canada by being flown in a two-seater plane. But when the pilot has a heart attack, Brian is left to fly the plane, alone. Not knowing which way he is supposed to be going, he just keeps flying until,

“…between the seventeenth and eighteenth radio transmissions, without a warning, the engine coughed, roared violently for a second and died.”

After crash landing into a pond, Brian must survive in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet, a ripped windbreaker jacket and his own self courage and knowledge. Facing many challenges and obstacles, he will keep fighting. And with the dreadful secret about his mother tearing him apart, there may be more mental pain in the whole ordeal than physical. Read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and you will agree; it is a timeless classic.

To see Random House’s Gary Paulsen website, click here.

Buy this book from Amazon.com!

The Hunger Games

North America has split into 12 districts. When the number gets higher the poorer the district gets. A girl in district 12 named Katniss Everdeen is having a tough time getting food for her familiy, on top of her father dying, and having her mother in the house since the tragedy happened. But with her extreme skill in archery she manages to get by. The Hunger Games are approaching and the picking of the contestants is about to begin. The  hunger games is where one person from each district is choosen to compete in an arena in the capital where the contestants are to fight for their lives. The last one to live is the winner and gets to live in one of the Victor’s Mansions in their district. When the hunger games picks her sister, Primrose, Katniss takes her sisters place to be in the hunger games. Along with her teammate Peta Melark they head to the arena where Katniss uses her extreme archery skill to battle for her life.

READ IT!!!!

A movie of The Hunger Games is coming out in March!

Review by Jenny

Leepike Ridge

Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson

Eleven year old Thomas Hammond has always lived next to Leepike Ridge. His house is chained on top of the ridge for fear of it toppling off in high winds. One night, unable to sleep, Tom heads down to the stream that borders their (his mother and Tom) land. He discovers a large piece of refrigerator foam lying on the bank of the river. He tentatively steps on it with one foot, two feet, and miraculously it held Tom’s weight! What seems to be an aimless trip on the river, Tom falls asleep and then the aimless trip on the river turns into the deadly rapids that suck Tom into an underwater cavern. Read Leepike Ridge to find out what happens.