Customer Reviews for

Rock Harbor Search and Rescue

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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  • Posted October 13, 2013

    The summary of "Rock Harbor Search and Rescue" is admi

    The summary of "Rock Harbor Search and Rescue" is admittedly intriguing, for a middle-grade fiction novel, although the book did not become a favorite for me.

    Emily O'Reilly is an almost-fourteen-year-old girl living in Michigan, with a passion for dogs in search and rescue work. She volunteers on rescue missions with her stepmom. She even wants to buy her own puppy and start training it for SAR work. Unfortunately, a crime is committed in Rock Harbor, and because Emily was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the suspicion points straight towards her.

    The Cons:
    Many times in the book, the parents hinder their daughter's curiosity, as she attempts to clear her good name. So, Emily is forced to go behind their backs to get her questions answered. She even "sneaks" online to do research, making sure her parents don't find out. These actions struck me as odd, not being good honorable morals for kids.

    The other thing that I didn't find appealing is the girly discussions which pass between Emily and her best friend, Olivia, about certain private topics. If there had just been less of it, I could have enjoyed the story better.

    The Pros:
    It's a story with a lot of fun elements, especially the dogs, and being able to learn about K-9 search and rescue. I'm glad that it does have a Christian theme running throughout, and that Emily takes time to say prayers to God. Her faith is an important part of the story, because she is surrounded by the superstitions of the Native American Ojibwa tribe, and their grisly Windigo creature which is said to live in the nearby woods. Since the crime she is suspected of is interwoven into the Ojibwa beliefs, she is stepping into unknown territory with only God by her side.

    The Author:
    Colleen Coble has previously written a Rock Harbor series for adults. She is now introducing this new series for tweens, which ties in with the same characters from her original series. Book #2 of the tween Rock Harbor series will be published in October.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the free book.

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  • Posted July 31, 2013

    Rock Harbor Search and Rescue (S&R) tells the story of Emily

    Rock Harbor Search and Rescue (S&R) tells the story of Emily O’Reilly, a typical middle grade school girl with a hard-core passion for S&R. She enjoys volunteering on the team with her stepmom, and very often, the pair join forces on rescue missions. She is selling homemade jewellery to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. Good things doesn’t always last long. Soon, an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewellery artist at Rock Harbor’s fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime. To make matters worse, even her dad doesn’t believe her. Determined, Emily decides to take matters into her own hands. Together with her best friend and younger brother, they set out to find the real culprit.

    When I first read Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, I did not particularly liked the lead character. I felt that Emily was too dull, too commonplace. Then again, she’s just a kid. She’s dealing stuffs way beyond her maturity level.

    Thankfully, as I read the story, I began to admire her determination and effort. Sometimes being a brother is better than being a superhero. Right as a sunbeam, soft as a cloud, and cute as a bug, Emily’s brother is a fun-loving character.

    The camaraderie between Emily and Olivia particularly shines. The sisterly pair shows a true meaning of friendship.

    The book has great pace. The author has an ear for dialogue, for she has the ability to catch your attention.

    Recommended for 8-12 year olds.

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love big furry creatures, and dogs rank high up on the list of

    I love big furry creatures, and dogs rank high up on the list of my favorite animals. It was an absolute joy to read about Search & Rescue and to see Emily's passion for the job. The story opens in the midst of a search, allowing us to get to know key people in Emily's life and how much she values the job. I love how Emily is a strong character in that she stands up for herself without going so far as to get into trouble that she can't handle despite her insistence on clearing her own name. At the same time, her youth and vulnerabilities also come out in moments of weakness, such as when the topic of her mother comes up and with her fear of the Windigo.
    Add to that the strong support from those around her. Emily's younger brother Timmy and best friend Olivia are always there to cheer her up and help her out. I also love Bree and Emily's step-mother Naomi. In time, I grew to like her father as well, though I can't forgive him for being so quick to suspect Emily of stealing Mary Dancer's necklace initially. I don't want to believe that a parent can put down his or her own child like that, but he does. And she still loves him.
    I do feel as though the relationships in the novel could be straightened out more, especially early on in the novel. We never do find out why Emily's father is so suspicious of her initially when she is accused of stealing the necklace, and Josh is never more than that boy Emily is interested in. I also never really felt a sense of urgency about Emily's biological mother. Though Emily fears her mother, we don't find out until late in the book why she is. I also wonder what role Greg plays in the novel and why he bothers to make an appearance in the novel when he was never brought up before and he doesn't play much of a role in the story.
    The emotions could come off a bit clearer as well. It falls flat at times, which is especially noticeable because there are times when Emily's emotions really come off the page, like when she feels betrayed by her father and when she remembers the time she went to the beach with her mother.
    On the whole, this was a solid read with strong dialogue and an amazing cast of characters. The novel does get a little too much on the religious side for me in the second half with the subject of God coming up more frequently; it isn't over the top, but there were too many similar references, especially in such a short novel. The ending is a bit anticlimactic. After all the searching for the true thief, Emily stumbles upon the truth by chance, and everything wraps up pretty nicely afterwards. I would have liked to see more suspense and action surrounding the mystery. At the same time, the ending is believable. Not every mystery has a big bad guy waiting at the end.

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