|Across the desert|
Author: Bowling, Dusti
While using a public library computer to find help for her mother who is addicted to pain medicine, twelve-year-old Jolene witnesses a friend's livestreamed crash-landing in the Arizona desert and embarks on a journey to rescue her.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 513728
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/21)
School Library Journal (+) (10/01/21)
Booklist (+) (12/15/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2021 Gr 3–7—Twelve-year-old Jolene is used to taking care of herself. Ever since a car accident severely injured her mother and caused her slide into opioid addiction, Jolene is alternately upset with and fiercely protective of her, despite their descent into poverty and occasional homelessness. She takes refuge from the Phoenix heat in the library each day, where she reserves travel books, draws maps, researches remarkable female pioneers, and follows livestreamer Addie Earhart's aerial adventures. Addie is grieving the loss of her father and flying their ultralight plane alone in the desert without her mother's knowledge, and the lonely pair strike up a connection. When Addie crash lands and the impact cuts off the feed, Jolene can't get anyone to go search for her. She has a pretty good idea of where Addie might be, and, realizing she's the only one who knows about the accident, scrounges meager supplies and sets out by bus to find her. Luckily for Jolene, she meets 17-year-old Marty on her journey, and the two end up searching for Addie together. Jolene's voice is instantly compelling, making suspending disbelief at the unique and dangerous scenario quite easy. The tension ratchets up insidiously as the desert heat rises and time seems to keep running out. Alongside the budding friendships, the depiction of parental addiction is utterly realistic and heartbreaking. VERDICT The book's dedication, "For you, the child of an addict, I see you," says it all. A first purchase.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill M.S., Closter, NJ - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2021 *Starred Review* Primed to earn the admiration of any preteen who has ever felt out of their depth, 12-year-old Jolene screws her courage to the sticking place and personally undertakes not one but two rescue missions. First, after failing to convince authorities that she saw, via webcam, an online friend (whom she knows only by a username) crash an ultralight plane deep in the Arizona desert, she sets out alone, armed only with her opioid-addicted mom’s cell phone and credit card. Fortune favoring the clueless (as it sometimes does), in the Phoenix bus station, she runs into Marty, a teenager with multicolored hair and a big heart who doesn’t really buy her story but agrees to join her quixotic enterprise. Neither is ready for the grueling trek that awaits. Nor, characteristically, does either have a plan should they actually succeed in their search. Though she salts her tale with inspirational references to Bessie Coleman, Robyn Davidson, and other adventurous women, Bowling gives her own scared but resolute protagonists plenty of adventure of their own, thanks to the desert’s deadly heat, viciously inhospitable terrain, and miles of trackless wilderness. The experience leaves Jolene better equipped for a wrenching, teary confrontation with her mother. Readers will soar along with Jolene into the prospect of better days. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.