Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
Topics: Survival, Adventurous, Canada, Forest, First in a Series, Realistic, Suspenseful, Wilderness, Divorce, Plane Crashes, Coming of Age, Death, Animals, Courage, Family, Hunting, 20th Century, and Stranded
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Interspersed with all of this is a sub-plot regarding Brian's parents, their divorce, and "the Secret" he witnessed of his mom cheating on his dad. I really didn't feel like it added anything to the story because very little happened in the subplot, and it did not impact the main plot (the survival) much at all. Brian does some survival-type stuff, is reduced to a pile of tears when he remembers "the Secret", and pushes it away to stay alive. Aside from Brian learning that nature isn't going to coddle a boy with parent issues, it doesn't really have much of a direct impact on the story except to explain why he's in a puddlejumper flying through Canada in the first place.
The ending is abrupt and an extreme deus ex machina. Even though it was barely 100-pages and I knew the ending was coming, the suddenness of the event shocked me.
Rated 3 for nostalgia. I enjoyed it as a 10-year old, and other 10-year olds would too. It doesn't hold up when you're all grown up, though.more