Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2017 A plane carrying four children plunges into the Amazon’s leafy canopy after the pilot loses consciousness at the controls. Miraculously, the kids survive the crash, but with no adults to help them, will they be able to survive the jungle? Such is the fiery premise of Rundell’s (The Wolf Wilder, 2015) newest offering, which is as much about escaping nature’s dangers as appreciating its wonders. Fred, Con, and siblings Lila and Max have never met before being stranded together, and the stress of their situation doesn’t make getting along any easier. Tempers flare and tears fall, but they gradually learn to work together, each contributing valuable knowledge or skills to their quest to find civilization. Readers enamored by survival fiction are in for a treat as the foursome evades deadly animals, builds a river raft, and stumbles upon the remains of an ancient city. Fred emerges as the dominant figure in the narrative, and his fascination with explorers becomes particularly useful. Suspense joins emotional revelation in this exciting exploration of friendship and nature’s wild beauty. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 Gr 5–8—The fiery crash of a six-seater plane, following the apparent heart attack of its pilot, leaves British adolescents Fred and Con and Brazilian children Lila and her brother Max stranded in the Amazon jungle, having escaped the flames and left relatively unhurt, but with little knowledge of how to survive. Strangers to one another, the three young teens must overcome their emotional baggage and learn to cooperate in order to deal with the needs and antics of five-year-old Max. Building a raft, they intend to follow the river to Manaus using a map they find hidden in a tree, but their journey leads them to an ancient lost city and a strange man who is possibly a famous explorer who disappeared years before. The author's knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Amazon lends authenticity to the setting as the children experience both beauty and danger, pooling their own limited knowledge to build a fire, extract honey from a beehive, eat grub pancakes, watch cavorting pink dolphins, adopt a baby sloth, avoid treacherous piranhas and caimans, and face their fears and personal histories. Each character has a unique backstory and talent or special interest that contributes to his/her survival. Elegant descriptive passages and lyrical writing ("The fire made a noise like an idea being born, a roar that sounded like hope") enhance but also occasionally jar the fast-paced, often gritty narrative. VERDICT Fans of adventure novels such as Gary Paulsen's Hatchet or Willard Price's "Adventure" series (which are also favorites of Rundell) will enjoy this jam-packed survival story.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.