THE VOYAGE OF THE FROG

Another tautly written survival story, much like Hatchet (1987, Newbery Honor Book) in design, though not in incident. David, 14, has just inherited Frog, a 22-foot sailboat, from his well-loved uncle and companion, Owen, dead of a cruelly swift cancer. Mourning, David is scattering Owen's ashes, alone and out of sight of the southern California coast (Owen's last request) when he is caught by a sudden storm and knocked out by the boom. After a series of adventures that gradually makes him more competent and confident—a becalming, a shark, an oil tanker that nearly collides with him, looming but friendly whales, another storm—he encounters a research ship and accepts some supplies, but decides to make his way home alone (350 miles against wind and current) rather than abandon the untowable Frog. Though David encounters plenty of life-threatening situations, there's never real doubt that he will survive; what holds attention here is the way he applies his ability to reason in coping with physical challenges and his own tear. As he acquires Owen's intimacy with Frog and sea, David also begins to assume Owen's best traits: his thirst for knowledge, his respect for the natural world. Like the adults in Hatchet, David's parents and Owen remain shadowy figures, within the range of the possible (though few parents would willingly allow a boy to undertake such a journey), but that is beside the point: this story is about the voyage of the Frog—an epic, often lyrical journey of self-discovery, perhaps less gripping than Hatchet but with a subtler, more penetrating delineation of its protagonist.

Pub Date: March 1, 1988

ISBN: 0545085357

Page Count: -

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988

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HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

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Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes.

HERE'S TO US

Former boyfriends’ “big Broadway love story” gets a revival in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018).

Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn’t have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his “ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job” interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren’t boyfriends, the connection—and attraction—is definitely there. Arthur’s officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a “Ben-addled mess.” Cue the confusion—and inevitable broken hearts—as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli’s and Silvera’s voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys’ situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben’s and Arthur’s perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White.

Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307163-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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