Byron is psyched when his older brother Jesse invites him on a weekend caving trip—even if it means spending time with Cole, Jesse's obnoxious college roommate. With Jesse's girlfriend Michelle rounding out the group, Byron is sure the excursion will be a success. Things get tense when they near the cave, only to find that the way in is blocked. Byron stumbles on the entrance to a new cave, but the thrill of his discovery is overshadowed by Cole's increasingly strange behavior. Exploring a wild cave is always ...
Byron is psyched when his older brother Jesse invites him on a weekend caving trip—even if it means spending time with Cole, Jesse's obnoxious college roommate. With Jesse's girlfriend Michelle rounding out the group, Byron is sure the excursion will be a success. Things get tense when they near the cave, only to find that the way in is blocked. Byron stumbles on the entrance to a new cave, but the thrill of his discovery is overshadowed by Cole's increasingly strange behavior. Exploring a wild cave is always dangerous, but it becomes deadly as tempers fray and the water level inside the cave starts to rise. When an underground confrontation leaves his brother seriously injured, Byron has to make some life-or-death decisions—and every second counts.
"A thrilling and compelling survival story about the bonds of family and brotherhood and the limits of human endurance under pressure…Squeeze will have readers on the edge of their seats…Highly Recommended."
"Young people will identify with Byron and the need to feel wanted and to be treated with maturity and understanding. The story is filled with adventure and action. Also included is an index of cave terms to extend the reader's understanding. A great read!"
CCYAB Book Notes
"Even those who are slightly claustrophobic will steel themselves to follow the underground drama of Squeeze."
"Muller puts the emphasis on action and suspense in this short tale of three Vancouver teens exploring a newfound cave rightly dubbed 'Murphy's Law.'…Rich in caver technique and terminology…Older, less-able readers will enjoy this page-turner as much as the middle-graders who are its natural audience."
National Speleological Society News
"A fast-paced and non-stop caving adventure that hits the ground running and doesn't slow down until the last paragraph. The plot will grab young readers from the first page while Muller's descriptive writing style provides a vivid image of cave exploration, quickly pulling readers into the story."
- Barbara Carroll Roberts
Fifteen-year-old Byron loves caves. He especially loves exploring "wild" caves—caves that haven't been tamed with steps and lights and gift shops—with his father and older brother on Vancouver Island. On a weekend trip with his older brother and two of his brother's friends, Byron finds an as-yet unexplored cave. As the four young people hike and wriggle and rappel farther and farther into the cave, they discover a magical world of waterfalls, underground rivers, and a cathedral-sized chamber full of glistening stalactites, stalagmites and flow stone. Byron is the least experienced caver of the group, and makes several costly mistakes, causing him to doubt his abilities. But when his brother gets hurt, and one of the friends turns out to be a suspicious character who hinders their retreat out of the cave, it's Byron who has to figure out how to get them out, dig his way to safety, and summon help. This is the kind of adventure story many young readers will love. There's plenty of nerve-wracking action, along with a subplot of mystery and suspense. But perhaps best of all is the fascinating, detailed information about caves and caving that Muller manages to weave seamlessly into the dialog and descriptive passages. Even claustrophobic readers who have no intention of ever entering a cave will find themselves captivated, sharing Byron's wonder and delight in this mysterious underground world. Especially for reluctant readers who demand an action-packed plot, this is a sure-fire winner. Reviewer: Barbara Carroll Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—A fast-paced, compulsively readable book. Fifteen-year-old Byron; his dad; and his older brother, Jesse, are all into caving. When the boys' father is called away on urgent business, their mother reluctantly allows them to go on a long-planned expedition without him. They are accompanied by Michelle, Jesse's girlfriend, and Jesse's sketchy college roommate, Cole. The action centers on a packet of documents that Cole carries with him into the cave. It contains personal information about students at the University of Victoria that could be used to steal their identities. Michelle, who works in the registrar's office there, gets hold of them and confronts Cole, who takes off, abandoning the others and cutting off their escape rope. The plot creaks a little—the reasons given for Cole bringing the documents into the cave with him are not entirely convincing—but Byron's actions in leading the trio to safety after his brother is injured are genuinely exciting. Information about caving is woven seamlessly into the narrative, and descriptions of the beauty of underground rock formations are often quite lyrical. With fairly simple vocabulary, short cliff-hanger chapters, and nonstop action, this is a great choice for reluctant readers.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
Rachel Dunstan Muller has spent most of her life on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a favorite destination of cavers, climbers, kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts. When she's not hiking through a forest or paddling along a rocky shore, Rachel likes to curl up and read true-life adventure stories. Rachel is the mother of five and the author of three other novels for children.
Everything hinges on my next decision. Do I trust the bush with my weight? It feels secure from here, but I can't be sure it will hold me if I step off the ledge. I'm more than two stories up, above a solid stone floor. If I fall now, it's goodbye Byron.