Another Quick Audio Review!

Looking for a new audio book to listen to in your car or on the go?  Look no further!

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Stink No Surrender
By Carl Hiaasen, Read by Kirby Heyborne
7 CDs — 7 hours, 50 minutes

skink no surrender bookRichard has always been best friends with his cousin Malley.  She’s kind of a wild child, but she always tells Richard what she’s up to.  When he returns from the beach where he was supposed to meet Malley, her  parents tell him that she’s left for school and has only left him a voicemail message, Richard is suspicious.  Everyone knew that Malley was extremely unhappy about being shipped off to boarding school in New Hampshire.  So Richard starts to snoop around, and realizes that Malley hasn’t gone to school, she’s run off to meet someone she met online.

Richard is worried, but he doesn’t want to get Malley in trouble.  Before he learned of Malley’s disappearance, he had met a stranger on the beach.  A stranger who seemed determined to rescue endangered turtles and who had a stubborn sense of fairness. Richard had been intrigued, and spent some time  investigating the man’s background.  Skink, aside from the being listed as dead, is a former governor of Florida who has a reputation for relishing working for a cause, and being on the side of justice. And he has a local detective who vouches for him.  So when Richard needs advice, Skink seemed like a good source of information.

With no preparation and an alarming phone call from Malley, Richard and Skink set off to rescue his cousin. Florida is full of dangerous creatures, crazy weather, and outrageous people, but somewhere out there is Malley.  And they’re going to find her, no matter what it takes.

skink no surrender audioI really enjoyed the narrator of Skink No Surrender.  He was able to change his voice for every character, and keep you right on the edge of your seat.  Skink especially is a character, and his booming voice is fun to hear.  This audio has everything I look for in something to keep me listening.

Skink No Surrender bridges the gap between Hiaasen’s  teen books and his adult books; in fact, Skink is a character that appears in many of Hiaasen’s adult novels.  Because of the situation with Malley that sets off Richard’s and Skink’s rescue mission, this book is most appropriate for high school students.  The details of Malley’s time with her kidnapper aren’t detailed, but it’s obvious that she doesn’t want to be with him.  So I wouldn’t recommend this title for elementary students, or sensitive middle school students.  With that said, it’s a very enjoyable read–whether it’s the print or the audio version.





Booklist: Winter Survival!

It’s awfully cold out there!  Every time I take my dog outside and see the thermometer, with the temperatures in the single digits, I think about how anyone could have possibly survived the cold before central heating, fleece and down comforters!  Because I think other people might just be thinking the same thing, here’s a booklist featuring survival stories in the middle of Arctic cold…sometimes literally.  🙂

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Winter Survival !

morenaCohen, Peter. Morena (J )
When his  Boy Scout campout is cancelled because of coming snow, Alex is accidentally left behind. Lost in the hills and wearing nothing but the clothes for a bus ride, he finds a horse, abandoned in her summer pasture.  Together, boy and horse must depend on each other for survival during a heavy snow storm and the freezing weather that follows.

ice-cream-heroesCorbalis, Judy.  The Ice-Cream Heroes (J )
Oskar and his friend Henrietta (who wears a gorilla suit throughout the book because of her job delivering gorillagrams) set off for the Himalayas to deliver an ice pick to Oskar’s mountaineering mother. Along the way they meet a tribe of abominable snowmen; are held captive in a palace made of ice cream by the henchmen of The Controller, a demonic thief with a cohort of mad scientists; and meet the Great Khone, an ice cream maker searching for the world’s stolen ice cream supply.

after the snowCrockett, S.D.  After the Snow (YA)
The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he’s ever known. Willo’s survival skills are put to the test when he returns to his remote home one day to find his family gone.  It could be the government; it could be scavengers — all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he’s always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows.

I Am the Ice WormEasley, MaryAnn.  I Am the Ice Worm (J )
California girl Allison Atwood is radically out of her element when an airplane crash leaves her stranded in Alaska. Rescued by an Inupiat passing on his dogsled and taken to a local village, Allison learns the meaning of hardship and survival when she is taken in by an Inupiat family.

7 professorsFardell, John.  The 7 Professors of the Far North (J )
Sam finds himself involved in a dangerous adventure when he and his new friends, siblings Ben and Zara, set off for the Arctic to try and rescue the siblings’ great-uncle and five other professors from the mad scientist holding them prisoner.

wolf storm Garretson, Dee.  Wolf Storm (YA)
This is Stefan’s big break. He’s on location in the mountains far from home for his first movie role. It  should be  a dream job, but acting turns out to be much tougher than he ever imagined, and he feels like his inner loser is all that’s showing through. Worst of all, no one will believe his claim that there are wild wolves haunting the forest around the set. When a blizzard strikes, isolating the young co-stars and bringing hungry feral wolves into the open, Stefan must take on his biggest role yet–working together with his co-stars to survive. With no second takes, they only have one chance to get it right.

julie of the wolvesGeorge, Jean.  Julie of the Wolves (J & YA)
To her small Eskimo village, she is known as Miyax; to friends in San Francisco, she is Julie. When her village is no longer safe, Miyax runs away. She finds herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness, without food, without even a compass to guide her. Slowly she is accepted by a pack of Arctic wolves and grows to love them as though they were family. With their help, and drawing on her father’s teachings, Miyax struggles day by clay to survive. But the time comes when she must leave the wilderness and choose between the old ways and the new. Which will she choose?

the wildGolden, Christopher.  The Wild (J)
Jack London is 17, following thousands of men and women into the Yukon Territory in search of gold. For Jack, the journey holds the promise of another kind of fortune: challenge and adventure. But what he finds in the wild north is something far more sinister than he could have ever imagined: kidnapping and slavery, the murderous nature of desperate men, and, amidst it all, supernatural beasts of the wilderness that prey upon the weakness in men’s hearts. Jack’s survival will depend on his ability to quell the demons within himself as much as those without. The first book in The Secret Journeys of Jack London series.

annas blizzardHart, Alison. Anna’s Blizzard (J )
Anna loves life on the Nebraska prairie where she lives with her parents and four-year-old brother in a simple sod house. When a fierce blizzard suddenly kicks up on a mild winter day, Anna, her schoolmates, and young teacher, Miss Simmons, become trapped in the one-room schoolhouse. The kerosene is gone and the wood for the stove is low. Then the wind tears away the roof and door. Anna knows they must escape before it is too late. Does she have the courage and strength to lead the others through the whiteout to safety?

winter campHill, Kirkpatrick.  Winter Camp (J)
Toughboy and Sister live with Natasha, an elderly, cantankerous Athabascan Indian. John (Toughboy) and Annie Laurie (Sister) respect Natasha but find her clinging to the old ways and her disparaging remarks about the pair’s softness hard to swallow. In late fall she abruptly has them all flown to camp in a bush plane to teach the children how to trap and deal with the Alaskan winter. They are awed by Natasha’s stamina and knowledge of the wilderness. Things gradually become almost routine, then an old miner friend is seriously injured by a moose. When Natasha sets off by dogsled for help, the children find their spirit pushed to the limit.

far northHobbs, Will.  Far North (J & YA)
When the engine of their  plane fails during a water landing near the head of Canada’s monumental Virginia Falls, what began as a sightseeing detour turns into a survival mission for two high-school students and their elderly companion.  With the brutal sub arctic winter about to fall like a hammer, Gabe Rogers, his boarding-school roommate, Raymond Providence, and Raymond’s great-uncle, Johnny Raven, are trapped in a deadly wilderness. Braving icy rapids and desperately hunting for moose in their struggle to fend off starvation, all three travelers must rely on the others’ knowledge and courage, or survival is out of the question.

ghost canoeHobbs, Will.  Ghost Canoe (J & YA)
Nathan MacAllister helps his father tend a lighthouse off the northwest coast of Washington State. When his mother’s health fails, he moves with her to the Makah village on the mainland, hoping the slightly drier climate will speed her recovery. From the moment he arrives, it’s clear that something strange is going on: the captain of a wrecked ship has been murdered, someone is hiding in the caves around the coast, money and supplies have been stolen, and there’s a mysterious stranger around. As Nathan unravels the puzzling goings-on, he discovers that he has endangered himself.

frozenfireHouston, James.  Frozen Fire (J)
Matthew and his friend, Kayak brave the harsh winter environment in a determined effort to find Matthew’s father,  who has been lost in a storm.  They must battle wind storms, starvation, wild animals, and wild men during their search in the Canadian Arctic. This desperate struggle is based upon a true incident.

ice dogsJohnson, Terry Lynn.  Ice Dogs (J)
Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.  Together, Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

cold riverJudson, William.  Cold River (YA)
When on a camping trip with her father, Fourteen-year-old Lizzy Allison and her younger step brother Timothy are stranded in the frozen Adirondacks during one of the worst snowstorms of the century. Battling the untamed perils of nature, they embark on a heart-stopping journey of courage, strength, and endurance against all odds.

troubling a starL’Engle, Madeleine.  Troubling a Star (J & YA)
Vicky is overjoyed when given the opportunity to travel to Antarctica to visit good friend Adam Eddington, a college student majoring in marine biology. Her enthusiasm wanes only slightly after she receives mysterious notes warning her to stay home. When she embarks on her journey, danger indeed seems to lurk around every corner.  As Vickystruggles to stay alive after being left on an iceberg in the Antarctic, she recalls the series of events that brought her to the bottom of the world and involved her in a dangerous mystery.

blizzardMaddox, Jake.  Blizzard (CHP)
They were supposed to be attending a volunteer dinner in their honor, but instead, Owen and Gray have been stranded in the middle of a raging blizzard. Once the storm subsides, the boys decide to try to find their way back to civilization. But with no food or water, freezing temperatures, and no help in sight, both boys begin to lose hope. Can they make it safely home, or will the frozen elements become too much for them to handle?

white darknessMcCaughrean, Geraldine.  The White Darkness (YA)
Sym is not your average teenage girl. She is obsessed with the Antarctic and the brave, romantic figure of Captain Oates from Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole. In fact, Oates is the secret confidant to whom she spills all her hopes and fears. But Sym’s uncle Victor is even more obsessed-and when he takes her on a dream trip into the bleak Antarctic wilderness, it turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival that will challenge everything she knows and loves.

LostInBarrensMowat, FarleyLost in the Barrens (J)
Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes.   When they get permission to go on a hunting trip and get separated from the adults of the party at the onset of winter, they find themselves on an adventure that proves longer and more dangerous than they could ever have imagined.

climb or dieMyers, Edward.  Climb or Die (J)
When their  car careens off a slippery Rocky Mountain road in a blinding snowstorm, injuring both parents, it’s up to Danielle and Jake to get help.  Their only chance for survival is to scale the mountain, where they know there is a staffed weather station.  To save their parents and themselves, athletic Danielle and Brainy Jake must rely on their individual skills and each other to survive.

HimalayaNeale, Jonathan . Himalaya (J)
Orrie is so mad at her dad and his girlfriend, Libby, that she can’t see straight. Orrie’s brother Jack is trying to prove he’s a real man, so the girls back at school won’t laugh at him. Their little brother, Andy, is talking to a dead yak, who is listening very carefully. Disaster strikes when Orrie decides to pursue her dad and Jack and a storm hits. The entire family is freezing to death at 20,000 feet.  Can they survive?

snowstormNetherclift, Beryl.  The Snow Ghosts (J)
Caroline, Kit, and Richard have gone to stay in the country with their Aunt Amethyst at Farthingdales while their parents are on a cruise. While there they discover a snow globe that moves them through time to when the house was in its hey-day. They meet and befriend Michael who lived there. When a blizzard strikes and the kids are left alone, will the ghosts help them find their missing aunt and solve the mystery of the lost family fortune…or will they stop them forever?

trappedNorthup, Michael.  Trapped (J & YA)
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision….

Brian's WinterPaulsen, Gary.  Brian’s Winter (J & YA)
In the classic book Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. He was rescued at the end of the summer. Brian’s Winter begins where Hatchet might have ended: Brian is not rescued, but must build on his survival skills to face his deadliest enemy–a northern winter.

ice islandShahan, SherryIce Island (J)
What begins as a training run with sled dogs turns into a race against time for Tatum and her new friend Cole. When a freak blizzard hits this remote island off Alaska, they seek shelter overnight in a dilapidated hunting cabin. Stranded in the untamed wilderness, they must rely on each other—as well as their faithful huskies—to survive sub-zero temperatures and bone-numbing exhaustion with very little food. When the strongest dog runs away, they decide that one person must go for help, while one must stay behind. Either way, they’ll each be alone in the wild for an uncertain amount of time.

great deathSmelcer, John.  The Great Death (J)
The Great Death arrived with the man from downriver, the one who came with the light-colored strangers and had little red spots covering his body.Millie and her sister, Maura are fascinated by the guests, but soon sickness takes over their village. As they watch the people they know and love die, the sisters remain unaffected and begin to realize that they will have to find a new home. Alone in the cold Alaskan winter of 1917, struggling to overcome the obstacles nature throws their way, the girls discover that their true strength lies in their love for each other.

peakSmith, Roland.  Peak ( YA)
After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. Peak quickly learns that his father’s renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings.  He wants his son to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit–and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But is it one that could cost Peak his life?

sign-of-the-beaver-coverSpeare, Elizabeth.  The Sign of the Beaver (J)
Matt must face serious challenges in the Maine wilderness while awaiting his father’s return to their cabin. When he is saved from a terrifying bee swarm attack by an Indian chief and his grandson Attean, Matt gains a valuable friend in the young Indian boy. As the boys become closer and learn new skills from each other, Matt must face a heart-wrenching decision when the tribe decides to move north. Is it time for Matt to move on with Attean’s tribe and give up hope of his family ever returning?

anna grandpa and the big stormStevens, Carla.  Anna, Grandpa and the Big Storm  (CHP)
The whole city of New York is blanketed by snow. But it’s the final day of the spelling bee, and snow or no snow, Anna has to get to school. It’s not as easy as she expected! Set during New York City’s great blizzard of 1888, this short novel portrays the new understanding that Anna and her grandfather find when they are stranded on a train platform.

wilderness winterThompson, Mary.  Wilderness Winter (J)
One day, Zeke and Tabitha found a footprint in the woods and soon they discovered they had neighbors. However, the Aikens’ pleasure as they made friends with the new family after so many months alone in the wilderness was marred when the fathers disagreed about how to build a mill for grinding corn they planned to construct jointly. How this quarrel was resolved and progress was thereby made possible toward the growth of a village winds up an interesting story about early pioneering in New England.

Kelly Wood  -Weston Public Library – Jan 2014

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So there you go.  If you’re freezing cold and want to read about kids who are having an even tougher time with the weather, try one of these books!

(Hmmm…maybe I should have done a Tropical Survival booklist to get our minds off the cold.  Maybe next time?)


Teens: If You Liked The Hunger Games

Feed by M. T. Anderson

In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card

Book 1 is Ender’s Game.  A veteran of years of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in one more computer war game when in truth he is commanding the last fleet of Earth against an alien race seeking the complete destruction of Earth.

Graceling series by Kristin Cashore

Book 1 is Graceling.  In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.

Selection by Kiera Cass

America Singer is chosen to compete in the Selection–a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea’s prince–but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her.

Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Book 1 is City of BonesSuddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizzare world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.

Matched series by Allyson Condie

Book 1 is Matched.  All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, whom to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn’t be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky’s face show up on her match disk as well?

After the First Death by Robert Cormier

Events of the hijacking of a bus of children by terrorists seeking the return of their homeland are described from the perspectives of a hostage, a terrorist, an Army general involved in the rescue operation, and his son, chosen as the go-between.

Maze Runner series by James Dashner

Book 1 is The Maze Runner.  Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.

Incarceron series by Catherine Fisher

Book 1 is Incarceron.  To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.

Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia

Book 1 is Beautiful Creatures.  In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.

Eon series  by Allison Goodman

Book 1 is Eon.  Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.

Gone series by Michael Grant

Book 1 is Gone.  In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have “The Power” and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.

Among the Hidden series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Book 1 is Among the Hidden.   In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm, until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong.

The Enemy series by Charlie Higson

Book 1 is The Enemy.  After a disease turns everyone over sixteen into brainless, decomposing, flesh-eating creatures, a group of teenagers leave their shelter and set out of a harrowing journey across London to the safe haven of Buckingham Palace.

Brave New World by Alexander Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future-of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpiece. Following Brave New World is the nonfiction work Brave New World Revisited, first published in 1958. It is a fascinating work in which Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with the prophetic fantasy envisioned in Brave New World, including threats to humanity, such as overpopulation, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.

Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan

Book 1 is The Last Thing I Remember.  High school student Charlie West awakens bloody and bruised in a concrete bunker, only to discover that he has lost a year of his life and remembers nothing about escaping from prison after being convicted of murdering his former best friend, or why he is being pursued by both the law and a group of terrorists trying to bring down the government of the United States.

Epic series by Conor Kostick

Book 1 is Epic.  On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik pursuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik’s father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families.

The Lorien Legacy series by Pittacus Lore

Book 1 is I Am Number Four.  On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik pursuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik’s father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families.

The Giver series by Lois Lowry

Book 1 is The Giver.  Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a postapocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.

Legend series by Marie Lu

Book 1 is Legend.  June and Day make their way to Las Vegas where they join the rebel Patriot group and become involved in an assassination plot against the Elector in hopes of saving the Republic.

Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

Book 1 is Wicked Lovely.  Seventeen-year-old Aislinn, who has the rare ability to see faeries, is drawn against her will into a centuries-old battle between the Summer King and Winter Queen, and the survival of her life, her love, and summer all hang in the balance.

Wake series by Lisa McMann

Book 1 is Wake.  Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people’s dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

Stuck working in the Lost and Found of the Toronto Transit Authority for the summer, seventeen-year-old Duncan finds the diary of a serial killer and sets out to stop him.

Cinder by Melissa Meyer

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

Host by Stephenie Meyer

The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. But Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves–Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

Book 1 is The Knife of Never Letting Go.  Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

Birthmarked series by Caragh O’Brien

Book 1 is Birthmarked.  In a future world baked dry by the sun and divided into those who live inside the wall and those who live outside it, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is forced into a difficult choice when her parents are arrested and taken into the city.

1984 by George Orwell

While the totalitarianism that provoked George Orwell into writing ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ seems to be passing into oblivion, his harrowing, cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare has had the opposite fate, and its relevance and power to disturb our complacency seem to grow decade by decade.

Maximum Ride series by James Patterson

Book 1 is The Angel ExperimentAfter the mutant Erasers abduct the youngest member of their group, the “bird kids,” who are the result of genetic experimentation, take off in pursuit and find themselves struggling to understand their own origins and purpose.

Life as We Knew It
series by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

Book 1 is Delirium.  Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

Across the Universe series by Beth Revis

Book 1 is Across the Universe.  Teenaged Amy, a cryogenically frozen passenger on the spaceship Godspeed, wakes up to discover that someone may have tried to murder her.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

Book 1 is The Lightning ThiefTwelve-year-old Percy Jackson learns he is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea.  His mother sends him to a summer camp for demigods where he and his new friends set out on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

Book 1 is Under the Never SkyAria and Perry, two teens from radically different societies–one highly advanced, the other primitive–hate being dependent on one another until they overcome their prejudices and fall in love, knowing they can’t stay together.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Book 1 is Divergent.  In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomoly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan

Book 1 is The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.

Unwind series by Neal Shusterman

In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives “unwound” and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs–and, perhaps, save their own lives.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater

Book 1 is The Raven BoysThough she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Book 1 is The UgliesJust before their sixteenth birthdays, when they will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally’s best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all.

Paranormalcy series by Kristen White

Book 1 is ParanormalcyWhen a dark prophecy begins to come true, sixteen-year-old Evie of the International Paranormal Containment Agency must not only try to stop it, she must also uncover its connection to herself and the alluring shapeshifter, Lend.

Two Audio Reviews–Fantastic Adventures!

I don’t know how it happened, but I have a back-up of audio books to review!  So…on with the first reviews!

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The Beyonders: A World Without Heroes
by Brandon Mull, Narrated by Jeremy Bobb
12 CDs, 14 Hours

The prologue starts in a dungeon with a tense confrontation between a prince and an emperor.  The prince loses. Or does he?

Skip to a completely different world.  Jason Walker is your normal, average, everyday Colorado thirteen-year-old.  He’s athletic, has several good friends, pretty good grades in school and a volunteer job at the zoo.  It’s that job that drops him into danger…but probably not in the way anyone would be expecting.

One afternoon, cleaning around the hippo tank, Jason hears mysterious music.  Because he’s curious, he follows the music to the source…the hippo tank.  Or is it the hippo?  Trying to find out where, exactly, the music is coming from, Jason falls into the tank and into the hippo. The hippo’s mouth, to be exact.  After a brief bout of disorientation, he finds himself coming out from the top of a tree in the middle of a dark forest.  He doesn’t know where he is, but it’s certainly not Colorado!

Not sure what to do, Jason hears the same mysterious music and once again follows it until he finds a river. On the river is a raft full of people playing instruments, on the banks of the river are people watching them.  Jason starts asking questions, and learns that the musicians are about to make a statement against their evil ruler, The Emperor Wizard Maldor, by falling to their deaths over the waterfall just downriver.  Horrified by the inaction of the watchers and needing to stop the musicians from killing themselves, Jason tries to save them. He saves one of the musicians, but makes an enemy of the guards. The crowd has also turned against him.

This is just too crazy!  Jason thinks he must be still in Colorado, unconscious from a head wound or something and hallucinating, but sees no reason to hang around for the crowd to find him.  He runs through the forest and starts following a path.  Eventually, he comes across an imposing building, where he seeks refuge for the night.

The building turns out to be The Repository of Learning. The Loremaster who resides there tells Jason about Lyrian, the land where he is.  Jason learns that Lyrian is ruled by the cruel emperor Maldor, who cares nothing about his people.  People live in fear, and anyone who speaks or acts against the emperor vanishes, never to be seen again.  Over the course of the night, Jason discovers that seems to fill a prophecy about a Seeker of Knowledge.  Before he knows it, he’s on a quest to find the syllables of a unique word that will defeat Maldor and bring peace and prosperity to Lyrian.

He can’t do it alone though, and along the way, Jason finds himself allied with Rachel, a girl from Washington who has also fallen through our world and into Lyrian, Ferrin, a man who cannot die, and several other people who he helps along the way.  Will Jason and Rachel find the word?  Will it defeat Maldor?  And what happens if they find a way home first?

Lyrian is a world where almost everyone has been quashed. No one is able to stand up for anyone else, they’re all just trying to survive.  Jason and Rachel, two ordinary kids with ideals and a strong sense of right and wrong end up in a world that is not like anything they know.  Their quest starts out as a straightforward search for a word, and ends up with them in a position to be the heroes that Lyrian needs.  Of course, The Beyonders: A World Without Heroes is only the first book of a trilogy, so you know that there’s more to come.

Jeremy Bobb, the narrator of this audio book has a great voice for the tale.  His voices for the characters are separate and varied.  The pace of his reading is great; his pacing for the action sequences makes the action both easy to understand and suspenseful.  He does a wonderful job keeping the listeners’ interest.

The Beyonders: A World Without Heroes would be a great book for a family car trip. There are some violent parts, so it’s not for very young children or for sensitive listeners. A good fourth grade fantasy fan could read it, but it’s more appropriate for  kids in fifth through eighth grade.  Listeners could be a little younger, although parents might be explaining things to them. The book on CD is long, so you may want to save it for a long ride!

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
by Rick Yancey, Read by Paul Michael
6 CDs, 7 Hours

Alfred Kropp is an orphan. He never knew his father, and his mother died when he was thirteen.  He now lives with his Uncle Farrell, a security guard, in Nashville.  Alfred is big for his age, a little slow, and maybe a bit of a coward.  He’s afraid of fights, confrontations and blood.  When his uncle tells him he has a way to get rich quickly, Alfred is skeptical.

Uncle Farrell has worked for Mr. Samson, a rich businessman for over twenty years. But when Mr. Myers, one of the man’s rivals offers him a million dollars to steal something from Samson’s safe, Uncle Farrell thinks it’s easy money.  The only problem is, his plan requires two people. Alfred objects.  Even though Mr. Myers told them he only wanted to take back something Mr. Samson stole from him, how do they know that Myers is telling the truth?  Besides, something about Mr. Myers gives him the creeps. But Uncle Ferrell doesn’t listen to Alfred’s objections. He threatens to turn him over to foster care if Alfred doesn’t help. Totally against his will and principles, Alfred steals the object–an incredible sword.

Is it Excalibur?  Alfred finds himself fighting mysterious monks with the sword, and defeating them. And he doesn’t know anything about fighting or swords! With the sword now in his possession, Alfred returns home with Uncle Ferrell.  When they get there Myers is waiting. Uncle Ferrell tries to hold out for more money, and Myers kills him.

Alfred is now alone.  Mr. Samson comes to talk to him, but although he seems kind, and tries to help, he has his own problems.  Soon Alfred is on the run with Excalibur, allied with a wounded knight, driving a Ferrari, with punks on motorcycles and a mysterious organization chasing him.  Will he find out the truth about the sword and return it to its rightful owner?

I wasn’t too sure about the narrator when the book started. Alfred and Uncle Farrell sounded too much alike.  But as soon as other characters started popping up, I was enthralled.  From Irish businessmen to American spies to not-quite-French mercenaries, everyone sounded different.  I loved the narration.  And the pacing was great.

Alfred is a reluctant hero. He grows as he faces things he never thought he could handle, and comes out the other side a stronger person.  Since there are two other books about Alfred’s adventures, you know that he’ll have a lot of dangers to face before he reaches his final adventure.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is a great adventure story for fantasy and spy fans, but it is violent. And that violence is described in detail in the narration. For that reason, I’d recommend it to kids in sixth grade and up.  Although younger kids could read it, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is in our teen section.  It has been optioned as a movie, so it may pop up on the silver screen at some future point in time!

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And…that’s it for tonight!  More tomorrow…I hope.  🙂


Old Favorite: Dark Lord of Derkholm

October is my favorite month of the year.  Changing leaves, pumpkins, apples, Halloween, Halloween costumes…  When I was a kid, I usually based my Halloween costume on favorite stories and books.  I remember the year I was Dorrie quite well; it took a long time to find two pairs of different colored striped socks and a stuffed black cat for Bink!  With all the Harry Potters out there today, it’s obvious that people still find their inspiration for costumes in books.

But what if finding a costume was more serious that just once a year, for fun?  What if your life depended on it?  In Diana Wynne Jones’ Dark Lord of Derkholm, a whole world’s livelihood depends on the strength of their costumes.  And on their acting abilities.  And athough that might sound like fun, for the brothers and sisters in this tale, it really isn’t.

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Mr. Chesney is the most powerful man in the world.  In several worlds, in fact.  His  business to to bring groups of Mr. Chesney’s Pilgrim Party Tours from the overdeveloped, over mechanized outer realms to a poor world where magic works.  His hold over the world started forty years ago, and involved blackmail, threats and a demon.

No one  actually likes Mr. Chesney or his Pilgrims.  For one thing, everyone has to pretend to be something they’re not if one of the Pilgrim Parties is in town.  For another, every year, people are forced to play the Dark Lord and his minions.  During that year, the wizard  must act evil, perform evil deeds, and in the end, be defeated by the Pilgrim Parties in a huge, epic battle.  Even worse, the tourists in the Pilgrim Parties don’t actually know that most of the evil henchmen and magicians are farmers, soldiers and normal wizards forced into playing the part under duress.  It’s a dangerous job, and everyone–from farmers to  soldiers to thieves, elves, and dragons– agree that Mr. Chesney must be stopped. Even though that means risking the wrath of a creature who has the power to destroy their world completely.

When Querida, the High Chancellor, and her cohorts in the High Council of Wizards’ University consult with the Oracles, the only help the Oracles can give is that the next Dark Lord must be the first person Querida sees, and the second person will be the Wizard Guide, who leads the Pilgrim Parties around the world and who is supposed to keep all the tours running smoothly.  Even though this mysterious prophecy doesn’t seem very helpful, the Council is sure that both these people will be powerful wizards, able to defeat the evil Mr. Chesney.

But the first person Querida sees is the disorganized and kind Wizard Derk; the second is his 14-year-old son Blade.  And suddenly, Derk, Blade and the whole of Derkholm, from family to servants to  merchants and townspeople are embroiled in a magical mess.  Derk has to reform the family castle into a pit of despair and doom, as well as coordinate armies, magical creatures and other magicians while trying to save his people from too much devastation.  The whole family is dragged into the act. Although no one likes the idea, they’re resigned to a year of no crops, no income, destroyed farms and sacrifices.  And then Derk is hurt in an accident with a dragon.  With his wife Mara’s help, Derk still might be able to pull off the role of the Dark Lord…but what about Blade?

Even though Blade is still a teen, his job of shepherding the Pilgrims around the world and dealing with Mr. Chesney might be even more dangerous. Especially now, when his parents can’t help him.  Luckily, his sister Shona is willing to drop out of Bard college to help him.  And their brothers and sisters: Elda, Lydda, Don, Callette, Finn and Kit have some great ideas too.  So what if they’re griffins, not humans?  But Mr. Chesney is grimly determined that magical creatures, even related ones, must be evil.  His actions toward Don, Callette and the others put them all in terrible danger.  Blade and the others might squabble, but they’re a family.  The siblings become more determined, and their goal is clear. Derk needs help, Blade is in trouble, and what Mr. Chesney doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  But the question is…will it hurt them?

As Blade goes out with the first group of Pilgrims, he’s not sure quite what to expect.  Pretty quickly, he learns that he’s in over his head. The tourists seem to have their own agenda,  it’s not so easy to pretend to be an ancient wizard, even behind a long white beard that apparently, ALL wizards wear, and it’s hard to pretend that  your wounded and kind father is an Evil Overlord of Doom.   Even worse than that though, Mr. Chesney seems to have seen through their deception.  While trying to play their roles, Blade and his brothers and sisters find themselves in danger.  Trying to defeat Mr. Chesney at the same time that they’re protecting their father and their friends from his wrath is no picnic!

Will these unusual siblings prevail?  Or will the implacable Mr. Chesney and his menacing weapon–a demon–win?  Read and find out!

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I just love all of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, and Dark Lord of Derkholm is among my favorites.  If you’ve ever read any kind of fantasy novel with a dangerous quest at the heart of it, you’ll laugh as you read the descriptions of what Derk’s people have to go through to create this illusion.  You’ll never look at fantasy in quite the same way!

The siblings in this story–human and griffin–each have distinct personalities and goals.  They squabble like most brothers and sisters, in spite of the magic.  Best of all, when problems arise, they work together.  Derk and Mara are wonderful, loving parents, happy with their children and each other, and quite in over their heads with their evil taskmaster.  Mr. Chesney is a horrible enemy; cunning, controlling and commercial.

So if you like a splash of humor in your dangerous fantasy world, try Dark Lord of Derkholm.  There’s also a sequel, called The Year of the Griffin.  Both are wonderful!


Audio Reviews: Survival!

I didn’t realize there was a theme between the last three audio books I listened to, but when I put them together, it was right there.  One space adventure, one steamy Everglades fiasco, and one white-water rafting trip in the middle of a tropical storm.  And yet, they all have one thing in common–Survival!

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Have Space Suit, Will Travel
By Robert A. Heinlein, Read by Will McAuliffe and the Full Cast Family
8 CDs, 8 Hours

Kip has wanted to go to the moon since he was in elementary school.  There is a lunar base up there, of course, but most people have to do something extraordinary to get stationed there. Kip decides that he’ll just have to go into science, work hard, and get there. His parents support his plan, although they tell him he’ll have to work hard.  In fact, his father takes a look at his school and the curriculum, and gives Kip a bunch of extra homework to do in order to have the type of basis he’ll need to get into a good college.

But then Kip hears about a contest a soap company is running. The person who creates a new slogan for their product will win an all-expenses paid trip to the moon!  Kip is suddenly the biggest fan of soap that ever was. With everyone in town giving him soap wrappers to mail in the slogans he thinks up, Kip is sure he can win.  With five thousand entries, one of them has to catch the eyes of the judges.

But Kip doesn’t win first prize; he wins something else. A spacesuit. Formerly used on the space station but retired, it’s still (mostly) space-worthy.  Instead of selling it for college tuition, Kip decides to completely renovate and update it.

Which is why he’s standing in the middle of a field when he receives a distress call from space.  And it’s how he survives being snatched by space pirate, meeting aliens, and being stranded on a secret base on the moon.

If Kip survives the experience, he’ll have a LOT to tell his grandchildren!

Have Space Suit, Will Travel was written in 1958, and it’s an interesting blend of 50s culture, projected technology and science fiction. For example, Kip is trying to fit a radio into his spacesuit helmet, and he mourns the fact that the transistor circuit isn’t smaller.  But of course now, we have micro circuits that could fit a radio in something the size of a quarter…and have much better ways than radio waves to communicate, anyway.  Kip wants to make multiple copies of something, but can’t because he doesn’t have access to a mimeograph machine.  There are computers, but they’re the size of houses. And Kip buys 5,000 stamps for under $200!

But even though there’s a huge difference from the projected future of Kip’s world and what we have now, Kip and Peewee are kids who could exist today.  They’re brave, and funny, and determined to get back home.

Now, there is quite a bit of scientific theory in this book, which might make it a little hard to listen to for listeners not interested in how things work.  But if you’re a budding scientist, with a yen for space travel, this book would be perfect for you.  And I do love the narrators of Full Cast Audio, who have different actors reading each part.  The voices are perfect, and listeners will find themselves absorbed in the adventure.

I’d recommend Have Space Suit, Will Travel book to listeners in 5th – 8th grade.  The book might be more accessible to slightly younger readers, because you can skip over the science theories and explanations.

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By Carl Hiaasen, Read by James Van Der Beek
5 CDs, 6 Hours, 11 Minutes

Wahoo Cray lives in Florida, where he shares his home with his parents, several alligators, a few dozen snakes, monkeys, raccoons, turtles, a wild cat and a bunch more animals.  His father, Mickey, is a wildlife wrangler, and is so good at his job that he’s frequently in demand by TV and movie productions.   Unfortunately, he’s currently having problems due to being hit on the head by a frozen iguana dropping out of a tree onto his head and causing a head trauma and a (temporary) coma. Even though he’s now home, he’s not quite up to working.

Because the family still needs to pay their bills though, Wahoo’s mother takes a job in Japan. When she’s gone, Wahoo accepts a job over the phone, one that will pay extremely well and help the family pay off their bills.  All they have to do is work with Expedition Survival!, a TV-reality show starring Derek Badger.  What Wahoo doesn’t know is that Derek Badger is a pampered TV star who believes his own press and thinks that he can wrestle any wild animal into submission. And then eat them.   Mickey, who is extremely protective of his animal family, clashes with Derek immediately.

So when the Expedition Survival! production company decides to film in the wild, instead of in the Cray’s Everglades staging lot, Mickey and Wahoo are hired to go along as animal wranglers.  Who knew things would be complicated by a runaway girl named Tuna, a crazy boat driver, Derek Badger’s inflated ego, and a dangerous man with a gun.  Will Wahoo and Mickey survive Expedition Survival!?

Chomp is a great book to listen to!  Carl Hiaasen always creates completely wacky situations that seem to be just normal life for his characters.  I loved Wahoo and Tuna and Mickey.  And even though I didn’t really LIKE Derek or Raven, his producer, they were a lot of fun to hear about.  As they travel around the Everglades, finding snakes and dodging giant bats and encountering danger, you won’t want to stop listening.

James van der Beeks’ narration was quite enjoyable, although I was a little unsure of it at first.  Wahoo and Mickey sound very similar, and I thought there would be a problem distinguishing between the voices.  As soon as the cast of characters started growing though, everyone had a distinct voice and rhythm.  And it makes sense that a father and son would sound alike.  And he did some great Australian, Floridian, and backwood swamp folk accents.

Chomp is a great survival story, with a hint of mystery that could be enjoyed by readers in grades 5  through grade 8.    The audio could be listened to by kids slightly younger, although Tuna’s situation and her father’s actions might require some discussion with younger kids. I think adults and high school kids would enjoy it as well…it has a unique and subtle humor that makes you grin, rather than laughing out loud.  And then try Hoot, Flush and Scat, which are all great books and books on CD as well!

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Take Me to the River
By Will Hobbs, Narrated by Steven Boyer
5 CDs, 5.25 Hours

Dylan has been planning this trip to Texas to visit his uncle and cousin for months.  Although he’s never met them, all three share a love of white water rafting; for the visit they’ve planned a trip  down the Rio Bravo, with Dylan in a canoe and Rio and his father in a raft.  When Dylan gets to the airport, he takes the bus to town, just as planned. But no one comes to meet him. Instead, he gets a message that he should hitchhike to his uncle’s house.

Puzzled and dismayed, but not wanting the adventure to be cancelled, Dylan finds a ride with a trucker, and meets Rio in a little restaurant where he works.  There, he learns that his uncle has been hired as a river guide in Alaska, and won’t be able to go on the rafting trip.  Rio was supposed to call Dylan while he was still at home in North Carolina, so that he could change his travel plans.  Rio didn’t make that call though, because he wanted to meet Dylan, even if all they can do is hang around Rio’s house.

And then the boys have an idea.  Why don’t they go on the rafting trip anyway?  They’re old enough and responsible enough, and they have plenty of experience on a variety of rivers. They get a friend of Rio’s to give them a ride to the head of the Rio Bravo, planning to buy most of their supplies at the store there.

But when they reach the store, it’s closed. And there are black helicopters on the river.  Dylan and Rio learn that there’s a tropical storm approaching and that the US and Mexican governments are searching for a group of dangerous drug runners.  Even though they consider both these problems with care, Dylan and Rio decide that it’s most likely that the tropical storm will go another direction, and that the Mexican criminals will be spotted by the searchers before they even reach the river. They set out on their trip.

But of course, things don’t go as planned, and soon Dylan and Rio are faced with tropical downpours, a raging river that’s much higher than they’d planned on, and two unwanted passengers.  Will they manage to survive?

Take Me to the River is a great adventure book for anyone who likes their stories spiced with danger!  The cousins don’t always make the wisest choices, but they’re both smart, and tough, and trying to do the right thing.   Although they’ve been in touch through e-mail and phone calls for years, this is the first time they’ve had a chance to meet, and it’s quite an introduction!

The descriptions of the storm, the raging river and the various weather fronts make the listener feel like they’re in the back of the raft.  The tidbits of information about life on the border of Texas and Mexico are quite interesting, and very eye-opening.  Once the boys run into their uninvited passengers, their actions stay true to their natures, and they struggle with a lot of difficult choices.

Take Me To The River is a wonderful survival story for kids in fifth through seventh grade. The audio could be enjoyed by family members of all ages for a long car trip.  This is a must read for anyone planning to raft the Rio Bravo, and would be an enjoyable selection for anyone who might be going white water rafting.

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And…that’s it.  Enjoy these survival stories and let us know what you think.  If you’re in the Weston Public Library looking for something to read or listen to, ask one of our librarians for help.  We’re glad to assist you in finding the perfect book or audio!


Teen: Realistic Fiction Survival Stories

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

Backwater by Joan Bauer

While compiling a genealogy of her family of successful attorneys, sixteen-year-old history buff Ivy Breedlove treks into the mountain wilderness to interview a reclusive aunt with whom she identifies and who in turn helps her to truly know herself and her family.

Juggling Fire by Joanne Bell

Sixteen year old Rachel embarks on a solo quest to find her father, who disappeared years ago in the Yukon wilderness.

Exodus by Julie Bertagna

In the year 2100, as the island of Wing is about to be covered by water, fifteen-year-old Mara discovers the existence of New World sky cities that are safe from the storms and rising waters, and convinces her people to travel to one of these cities in order to save themselves.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.

Maze Runner by James Dashner

Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

When a terrible blight attacks Ireland’s potato crop in 1845, twelve-year-old Nory Ryan’s courage and ingenuity help her family and neighbors survive.

Siberia by Ann Halam

After spending two years at a prison school, thirteen-year-old Sloe sets off on a trek across frozen wastelands, tending to the secret “seeds” of wild animals her mother left in her care, trying to reach a new life for all of them.

Eleventh Plague by Hirsch

Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen’s life is turned upside down.

Far North by Will Hobbs

After the destruction of their floatplane, sixteen-year-old Gabe and his Dene friend, Raymond, struggle to survive a winter in the wilderness of the Northwest Territories.

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon leaves their forest shelter home and is sent to an Alabama institution, becoming entangled in the outside world he has never known and making good friends, a relentless enemy, and finally a new life.

Escape by Sea by L.S. Lawrence

When the city of Carthage falls to the Romans during the Punic Wars, Sara, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Carthaginian senator, must gather her grief-stricken father and take to the seas, where, with only with a meager cargo to trade, her healing skills, her wits, and her courage, Sara must face a life wildly different from anything she thought possible.

Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden

Seven Australian teenagers return from a camping trip in the bush to discover that their country has been invaded and they must hide to stay alive.

The Island Keeper by Harry Mazer

Longing to disappear after the death of her beloved younger sister, 16-year-old Cleo runs away from her overprotective and oppressive family and goes to a remote island where she is the only human inhabitant.

White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Taken to Antarctica by the man she thinks of as her uncle for what she believes to be a vacation, Symone–a troubled fourteen year old–discovers that he is dangerously obsessed with seeking Symme’s Hole, an opening that supposedly leads into the center of a hollow Earth.

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a week-long blizzard that shuts down the power and heat, freezes the pipes, and leaves them wondering if they will survive.

Sarah Bishop by Scott O’Dell

Left alone after the deaths of her father and brother who take opposite sides in the War for Independence, and fleeing from the British who seek to arrest her, Sarah Bishop struggles to shape a new life for herself in the wilderness.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Nation by Terry Pratchett

After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

When two Florida teenagers become stranded on a tiny island in the Everglades, they attempt to walk ten miles through swampland to reach civilization.

Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury

In 1975, eleven Boy Scouts, their leaders, and some new friends camping at Halape, Hawaii, find their survival skills put to the test when a massive earthquake strikes, followed by a tsunami.

Peak by Roland Smith

A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, a twelve-year-old white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a small desert island in the Caribbean where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion.

Hurricane by Terry Trueman

A fictional account of one of the worst storms to hit the Caribbean–Hurricane Mitch in 1998–told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy living in a small village in Honduras.