Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Skeleton Tree By Iain Lawrence|Review

The Skeleton Tree
Published by Tundra Books on January 5th, 2016
Genre: Middle Grades
Pages: 288
Format: ARC

Less than 48 hours after twelve-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they've got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive. Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn't expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue.

My Thoughts

Even before losing his father, Christopher has always had trouble making friends. Seemingly always in the crossfire of misunderstandings, Chris's shy and reserved attitude makes it easy on school bullies. Then, out of the blue, his uncle invites Chris to accompany him on his way home from Alaska. The catch, Chris knows nothing about sailing. Believing that It would be a great learning experience and character building, Chris leaps at the chance. Upon his arrival, Chris is shocked to see that the trip won't just consist of him and his uncle, but a mysterious teenager as well. The boating trip soon immediately turns into a fight for survival as the three of them brawl with the waves. Matters only get worse when their boat sinks, dragging Chris' uncle with it. Forced to face Alaska's chilly environment alone, the boys stumble upon what appears to be a hunting cabin. Continuously at odds with one another, Chris and Frank will have to get over their petty quarrels if they want to survive. Facing hardships and new friendships, Chris discovers what it truly means to be thankful and alive. First, I must say that the cover is beautiful. The misty forest and rocky mountains give you a great image of where the story it set. I love how it even incorporated Thursday. Immediately, the first chapter foreshadows that both Chris and Frank survive to see their predicted rescue date. Throughout the book, small snippets of the future continually remind the readers that whatever happens, the two boys will somehow survive. I really liked how to flashed to the impending rescue back to the two tromping around on the beach. It is obvious from the start that Chris and Frank will not get along. With the age gap and different lifestyles, the two struggle to find something in common. But when they finally do, their bickering diminishes into laughter. I really enjoyed how they differed from each other. Frank liked to take charge, whereas Chris is used to being in the back of ground, falling along. So when it's time for Chris to stand up and take the lead, Frank has no choice but to trust him and his instincts.
Lawrence perfect stages each scene with painstaking details and emotion. My heart raced sporadically from beginning to end. He does an excellent job with the development of his character as the story progresses. I suggest this book for anyone looking for a new take on teen survival and adventure that is not a dystopia.

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