May 1, 2016 Booklist 13 #mysterymonth
jolts the ground and a tsunami engulfs
the area. Inspired by real events, this
vivid adventure soon strips away every
vestige of normality, leaving characters
dependent on their wits, their skills, and
local folklore for their survival.
Parched. By Melanie Crowder. 2013.
Harcourt, $15.99 (9780547976518).
The desperate search for water is the
haunting drama in this spare contemporary survival story. After her parents are
slaughtered, Sarel and her dog, Nandi,
run from home into the dry desert.
Meanwhile, young Musa escapes from
the city gang that kept him prisoner. The
girl, the boy, and the dog tell their stories in alternating narratives as they run
through the drought-stricken countryside, driven by the overwhelming search
The Skeleton Tree. By Iain
Lawrence. 2016. Delacorte, $16.99
(9780385733786). Gr. 5–8.
Arriving in Alaska to join his daredevil
uncle Jack in sailing down the coast,
12-year-old Chris is surprised to learn
there’s another shipmate—sullen, obnoxious 15-year-old Franklin. The two
natural antagonists are left together to
survive in the wilderness when their boat
sinks and Uncle Jack is lost at sea. Will
the boys remain enemies, or will they
work together to survive?
Stormstruck! By John Macfarlane. 2015.
Holiday, $16.95 (9780823433940).
Overhearing his parents discussing
putting down his elderly dog, Sam
hustles the pet aboard his catboat for
an ill-considered escape. Nothing goes
smoothly as wild storms, heavy fogs, a
glancing collision with a passing barge,
and other mishaps leave boy, dog, and a
badly injured would-be rescuer stranded
on a rusted old shipwreck out of sight of
land, with few supplies and a menacing
shark looming closer.
Survive. By Alex Morel. 2012. Penguin/
Razorbill, $17.99 (9781595145109).
Jane is fleeing her mental institution
with enough pills to follow through on
her suicide plans when her plane hits a
storm and crashes into an empty, freezing wilderness. Now, she and Paul, the
only other survivor, face a seemingly
impossible journey to survive. For years,
Jane has wanted to die, but now, life has
become something worth fighting for.
The Great Wide Sea. By M. H. Herlong.
2008. Viking, $16.99 (9780670063307).
Soon after their mother’s death,
15-year-old Ben and his two younger
brothers are stunned when their father
buys a sailboat and announces that they
will live on board for the next year.
When their father disappears overboard
one night, the boys have little time
to wonder if he jumped or fell before
they’re struggling to stay afloat in a fierce
The Honest Truth. By Dan
Gemeinhart. 2015. Scholastic, $16.99
(9780545665735). Gr. 4–6.
Twelve-year-old Mark has been living
with cancer since he was five, and, when
faced with the news that his cancer has
recurred again, he decides to put a long-held fantasy into action. He runs away to
climb Mount Rainier, despite his physical weakness, blinding headaches, and
the onset of a dangerous snowstorm.
The Living. By Matt de la Peña. 2013.
Delacorte, $17.99 (9780385741200).
In this genre-blending tale, Shy Es-pinoza is 11 days into his summer job
on a luxury cruise line when “the Big
One” hits California, hurling massive
tsunamis into the ocean and plunging
Shy and an unexpected companion into
churning, shark-infested waters. The
tsunami sequence is a breathless tour
de force, while the compelling mixture
of plots stays firmly grounded in de la
Peña’s commitment to Shy’s believable
May B. By Caroline Rose. 2012.
Random/Schwartz & Wade, $15.99
(9781582463933). Gr. 3–7.
In the Kansas prairie in the late 1870s,
May Betts, 11, finds herself stranded
and alone in a small, sod homestead 15
miles away from home. Can she survive
the five months until her parents come
to collect her? The daily physical details
of finding food and keeping warm are
the heart of this story, told in spare free-verse poems.
Night of the Howling Dogs.
By Graham Salisbury. 2007.
Random/Wendy Lamb, $16.99
(9780385731225). Gr. 5–8.
Eighth-grader Dylan looks forward to
Terror at Bottle Creek. By Watt Key.
camping on the coast in the shadow of a
volcano, but the presence of tough, trou-
bled Louis is, to Dylan, foreboding. His
dread is justified when an earthquake
With relatable characters, this is sus-
penseful, serious, and cunningly ironic.
2016. Farrar, $15.99 (9780374374303).
Cort has grown up along the Gulf
Coast, where hurricanes are a fact of
life. He is especially used to the dangers
of the wilderness, as his father is a river
guide. When the latest hurricane arrives and Cort finds himself trapped in
the swamp, he has a whole new slew of
problems. He has not only a Category 3
storm to deal with but a host of gators,
hogs, and snakes all battling it out for
dry ground. With harrowing descriptions
and a resourceful hero, this is Hatchet for
the post-Katrina generation.