Stranded (Stranded Series #1)
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Stranded (Stranded Series #1)

4.4 84
by Jeff Probst, Christopher Tebbetts

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A New York Times Bestseller!
As seen on The Today ShowRachael Ray, and Kelly and Michael.
From the Emmy-Award winning host of Survivor, Jeff Probst, with Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life co-author, Chris Tebbetts, comes a brand new family adventure series!



A New York Times Bestseller!
As seen on The Today ShowRachael Ray, and Kelly and Michael.
From the Emmy-Award winning host of Survivor, Jeff Probst, with Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life co-author, Chris Tebbetts, comes a brand new family adventure series!

A family vacation becomes a game of survival!
It was supposed to be a vacation—and a chance to get to know each other better. But when a massive storm sets in without warning, four kids are shipwrecked alone on a rocky jungle island in the middle of the South Pacific. No adults. No instructions. Nobody to rely on but themselves. Can they make it home alive?

A week ago, the biggest challenge Vanessa, Buzz, Carter, and Jane had was learning to live as a new blended family. Now the four siblings must find a way to work as a team if they're going to make it off the island. They're all in this adventure together—but first they've got to learn to survive one another.

Books in the original Stranded series:

Stranded (Book 1)
Trial By Fire (Book 2)
Survivors (Book 3) 

Books in the Stranded, Shadow Island series
Forbidden Passage (Book 4)
Sabotage (Book 5)
Desperate Measures (Book 6)   

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a five-day boat expedition off Hawaii hits an unexpected storm, new stepsiblings Vanessa (13), eleven-year-olds Buzz and Carter, and Jane (9) struggle to stay on course. When they are forced to abandon ship, the kids' uncle and the boat's first mate get aboard the life raft, but the boat is torn away with the four children still inside. They end up stranded on an uncharted island and have to learn to work together. The narration shifts between the perspectives of each of the kids as the true nature of their circumstances become clear and tasks like finding water turn into a struggle for survival. Each character brings a different strength to the table; some are obvious like Carter's knowledge of the outdoors, while others, like the tips couch potato Buzz has gleaned from reality TV (a nod to Survivor, the show hosted by Probst), are revealed with more subtlety. Little distinguishes the voice of one character from another, but the high stakes and novel environment should ensure rapid page-turning. A sequel, Trial by Fire, is due in June. Ages 8-up.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Carter and Jane's mother recently married Vanessa and Buzz's father. Uncle Dexter decides to take all the kids out to sea on a sailing adventure so the honeymooners can hike at Volcanoes National Park and enjoy the beaches of Hawaii. The new siblings were supposed to bond on a small boat out in the middle of nowhere, but things to do not start off so well, and the weather becomes serious. The boat rocks and tilts. Time to call in an S.O.S., especially since water is coming in through the engine. Uncle Dex prepares for everyone to get into the life raft. But one moment he is there and the next he isn't. With the small boat breaking apart from the thrashing of the storm, the four children are seemingly left alone to fend for themselves. The worst isn't over yet. By daybreak they find themselves washed up on an island, wondering what will happen next. How will they survive? Now, they must find a way to work together to survive and get off the island of Nowhere. This fast- paced read is an exciting adventure for young readers to enjoy. Lively dialogue and interactions will keep readers engaged and perhaps recognizing some similarities with their own siblings. Author Jeff Probst, of the famed television show Survivor, has created a wonderful adventure any middle grade reader will love. Vivid imagery throughout the pages will have readers feeling as though they were stranded too. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—In this exciting survival novel, four kids from a recently blended family are sent sailing to get to know one another better. When a sudden storm front moves in, the boat runs into a rocky shoal and starts taking on water. The children's uncle, the captain, prepares a life raft with his first mate, but the two of them and the raft disappear before the kids can get on. The ship runs aground on an unknown island. Now stranded in the South Pacific, the children must find a way to contact the coast guard and survive. During their adventure, they learn to cross deadly cliffs, go spelunking, and try to keep from being swept out to sea in raging water. The nautical terms and descriptions with little contextual clues are confusing for the first part of the book, but once the children get stranded on the island, the story begins to move at an exceedingly fast and exciting pace. While the plot delivers, the character development is lacking. The youngsters represent different stereotypes and rarely step outside their roles: the thinker, the technology guru, the stubborn athlete, and the problem-solving geek with untapped leadership potential. Readers should be able to identify with at least one character, but the lack of dynamic growth limits the audience to fans of adventure/survival books.—Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, ME

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Stranded Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


“What just happened?” Carter shouted.

“Did we hit some rocks?” Buzz asked.

“Dad!” Vanessa shouted. “Dad? Can you hear me?” She started scrambling through the pile of debris on the floor, but she couldn’t find the phone anywhere.

Instead, her hand landed in cold water. It was soaking the carpet, Vanessa realized. When she looked to her right, she saw it was also pouring in from under the small engine-compartment door.

At the same moment, Joe came barreling down the galley steps.

“What are you doing?” Vanessa asked. “Joe, where’s Dex? There’s water coming in!”

But Joe wasn’t listening. He was holding the sideband radio transmitter with one hand and adjusting a dial on the console with the other.

“SOS, SOS, this is the Lucky Star,” Joe said into the handset. “SOS, SOS, this is the Lucky Star, do you copy?”

Whatever was said next, Vanessa didn’t hear. It was swallowed up by a brilliant flash of lightning and a crash of thunder too overwhelming to be anywhere but right on top of them.

In the next moment, the entire cabin was thrown into darkness.

Book 1:

Book 2:

Book 3:




It was day four at sea, and as far as eleven-year-old Carter Benson was concerned, life didn’t get any better than this.

From where he hung, suspended fifty feet over the deck of the Lucky Star, all he could see was a planet’s worth of blue water. The boat’s huge white mainsail ballooned in front of him, filled with a stiff southerly wind that sent them scudding through the South Pacific faster than they’d sailed all week.

This was the best part of the best thing Carter had ever done, no question. It was like sailing and flying at the same time. The harness around his middle held him in place while his arms and legs hung free. The air itself seemed to carry him along, at speed with the boat.

“How you doin’ up there, Carter?” Uncle Dexter shouted from the cockpit.

Carter flashed a thumbs-up and pumped his fist. “Faster!” he shouted back. Even with the wind whipping in his ears, Dex’s huge belly laugh came back, loud and clear.

Meanwhile, Carter had a job to do. He wound the safety line from his harness in a figure eight around the cleat on the mast to secure himself. Then he reached over and unscrewed the navigation lamp he’d come up here to replace.

As soon as he’d pocketed the old lamp in his rain slicker, he pulled out the new one and fitted it into the fixture, making sure not to let go before he’d tightened it down. Carter had changed plenty of lightbulbs before, but never like this. If anything, it was all too easy and over too fast.

When he was done, he unwound his safety line and gave a hand signal to Dex’s first mate, Joe Kahali, down below. Joe put both hands on the winch at the base of the mast and started cranking Carter back down to the deck.

“Good job, Carter,” Joe said, slapping him on the back as he got there. Carter swelled with pride and adrenaline. Normally, replacing the bulb would have been Joe’s job, but Dex trusted him to take care of it.

Now Joe jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Your uncle wants to talk to you,” he said.

Carter stepped out of the harness and stowed it in its locker, just like Dex and Joe had trained him to do. Once that was done, he clipped the D-ring on his life jacket to the safety cable that ran the length of the deck and headed toward the back.

It wasn’t easy to keep his footing as the Lucky Star pitched and rolled over the waves, but even that was part of the fun. If he did fall, the safety cable—also called a jackline—would keep him from going overboard. Everyone was required to stay clipped in when they were on deck, whether they were up there to work . . . or to puke, like Buzz was doing right now.

“Gross! Watch out, Buzz!” Carter said, pushing past him.

Uhhhhhnnnnh,” was all Buzz said in return. He was leaning against the rail and looked both green and gray at the same time.

Carter kind of felt sorry for him. They were both eleven years old, but they didn’t really have anything else in common. It was like they were having two different vacations out here.

“Gotta keep moving,” he said, and continued on toward the back, where Dex was waiting.

“Hey, buddy, it’s getting a little choppier than I’d like,” Dex said as Carter stepped down into the cockpit. “I need you guys to get below.”

“I don’t want to go below,” Carter said. “Dex, I can help. Let me steer!”

“No way,” Dex said. “Not in this wind. You’ve been great, Carter, but I promised your mom before we set sail—no kids on deck if these swells got over six feet. You see that?” He pointed to the front of the boat, where a cloud of sea spray had just broken over the bow. “That’s what a six-foot swell looks like. We’ve got a storm on the way—maybe a big one. It’s time for you to take a break.”

“Come on, please?” Carter said. “I thought we came out here to sail!”

Dex took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye.

“Remember what we talked about before we set out? My boat. My rules. Got it?”

Carter got it, all right. Arguing with Dex was like wrestling a bear. You could try, but you were never going to win.

“Now, grab your brother and get down there,” Dex told him.

“Okay, fine,” Carter said. “But he’s not my brother, by the way. Just because my mom married his dad doesn’t mean—”

“Ask me tomorrow if I care,” Dexter said, and gave him a friendly but insistent shove. “Now go!”

* * * 

Benjamin “Buzz” Diaz lifted his head from the rail and looked out into the distance. All he could see from here was an endless stretch of gray clouds over an endless stretch of choppy waves.

Keeping an eye on the horizon was supposed to help with the seasickness, but so far, all it had done was remind him that he was in the middle of the biggest stretch of nowhere he’d ever seen. His stomach felt like it had been turned upside down and inside out. His legs were like rubber bands, and his head swam with a thick, fuzzy feeling, while the boat rocked and rocked and rocked.

It didn’t look like this weather was going to be changing anytime soon, either. At least, not for the better.

Buzz tried to think about something else—anything else—to take his mind off how miserable he felt. He thought about his room back home. He thought about how much he couldn’t wait to get there, where he could just close his door and hang out all day if he wanted, playing City of Doom and eating pepperoni pizz—

Wait, Buzz thought. No. Not that.

He tried to unthink anything to do with food, but it was too late. Already, he was leaning over the rail again and hurling the last of his breakfast into the ocean.

“Still feeding the fish, huh?” Suddenly, Carter was back. He put a hand on Buzz’s arm. “Come on,” he said. “Dex told me we have to get below.”

Buzz clutched his belly. “Are you kidding?” he said. “Can’t it wait?”

“No. Come on.”

All week long, Carter had been running around the deck of the Lucky Star like he owned it or something. Still, Carter was the least of Buzz’s worries right now.

It was only day four at sea, and if things kept going like this, he was going to be lucky to make it to day five.

* * * 

Vanessa Diaz sat at the Lucky Star’s navigation station belowdecks and stared at the laptop screen in front of her. She’d only just started to learn about this stuff a few days earlier, but as far as she could tell, all that orange and red on the weather radar was a bad sign. Not to mention the scroll across the bottom of the screen, saying something about “gale-force winds and deteriorating conditions.”

The first three days of their trip had been nothing but clear blue skies and warm breezes. Now, nine hundred miles off the coast of Hawaii, all of that had changed. Dexter kept saying they had to adjust their course to outrun the weather, but so far, it seemed like the weather was outrunning them. They’d changed direction at least three times, and things only seemed to be getting worse.

The question was—how much worse?

A chill ran down Vanessa’s spine as the hatch over the galley stairs opened, and Buzz and Carter came clattering down the steps.

“How are you feeling, Buzzy?” she asked, but he didn’t stop to talk. Instead, he went straight for the little bathroom—the “head,” Dexter called it—and slammed the door behind him.

Her little brother was getting the worst of these bad seas, by far. Carter, on the other hand, seemed unfazed.

Sometimes Vanessa called them “the twins,” as a joke, because they were both eleven but nothing alike. Carter kept his sandy hair cut short and was even kind of muscley for a kid his age. Buzz, on the other hand, had shaggy jet-black curls like their father’s and was what adults liked to call husky. The kids at school just called him fat.

Vanessa didn’t think her brother was fat—not exactly—but you could definitely tell he spent a lot of time in front of the TV.

“It’s starting to rain,” Carter said, looking up at the sky.

“Then close the hatch,” Vanessa said.

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

Vanessa rolled her eyes. “Okay, fine. Get wet. See if I care.”

He would, too, she thought. He’d just stand there and get rained on, only because she told him not to. Carter was one part bulldog and one part mule.

Jane was there now, too. She’d just come out of the tiny sleeping cabin the two girls shared.

Jane was like the opposite of Carter. She could slip in and out of a room without anyone ever noticing. With Carter, you always knew he was there.

“What are you looking at, Nessa?” Jane asked.

“Nothing.” Vanessa flipped the laptop closed. “I was just checking the weather,” she said.

There was no reason to scare Jane about all that. She was only nine, and tiny for her age. Vanessa was the oldest, at thirteen, and even though nobody told her to look out for Jane on this trip, she did anyway.

“Dex said there’s a storm coming,” Carter blurted out. “He said it’s going to be major.”

“Carter!” Vanessa looked over at him and rolled her eyes in Jane’s direction.

But he just shrugged. “What?” he said. “You think she’s not going to find out?”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” Jane said. She crawled up onto Vanessa’s lap and opened the computer to have a look. “Show me.”

“See?” Carter said. “I know my sister.”

Vanessa took a deep breath. If the idea of this trip was to make them one big happy family, it wasn’t exactly working.

Technically, the whole sailing adventure was a wedding gift from her new uncle, Dexter. It had been two months since Vanessa and Buzz’s father had married Carter and Jane’s mother, but they’d waited until the end of the school year to take a honeymoon. Now, while their parents were hiking Volcanoes National Park and enjoying the beaches on Hawaii’s Big Island, the four kids were spending the week at sea and supposedly getting to know one another better.


What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A New York Times Bestseller!

As seen on The Today Show, Rachael Ray, and Kelly and Michael.

"Stranded is non-stop adventure! If your kids love Survivor, they'll love this book!" —Mark Burnett, Executive Producer of Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and Celebrity Apprentice

"An epic adventure for that young adventurer in us all!" —Bear Grylls, host of Discovery's Man vs Wild, NBC's Get Out Alive and #1 bestselling author

Meet the Author

Jeff Probst is the multi-Emmy award winning host and executive producer of the popular series Survivor. A native of Wichita, Kan., Probst is married and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and 2 children when not traveling the world.  He can be followed on twitter @jeffprobst and online at

Chris Tebbetts is the New York Times bestselling co-author of James Patterson's Middle School series. Originally from Yellow Spring, Ohio, Tebbetts is a graduate of Northwester University. He lives and writes in Vermont.

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Stranded 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't get it should I read it or will the book be as bad as the preview help me out bros! Click yes if I should get this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is really good! I recamend it to all the people who love adventure. This book will always keep you on your toes. Im sure you will all love this adventurus amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much i can't wait to read books 2 & 3. I recomed it to ages 9-13.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome and I thing everyone should read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It has so much tension! I can't wait for Stranded 2: Trial by Fire to come out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book was so good i love it and think everyone should read it cant wait for book 2 (trial by fire) :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I've read like ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this but I think it is going to like.Any coments?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book. Read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It gives me goosebumps when they work together:) I love this book don't get the sample get the book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I say 5 stars it is the best book!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love watching survivir and love the concept. I was lookinv for a good read and heard about it on the radio. Thought i would give ita try. Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish i could give it 1000000 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Well worth the money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant wait for the second one!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book Stranded. I couldn't put the book down. There was NO spelling mistakes. I hope that the children will be found soon. I loved the book and I hope you will like it to. From, Roseletta
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! U have to get it! If u want a quick adventure read this is totally the book for u! And the end leaves u hanging!!!! Once u read this book u will have to read the second and possiably the third! Total Pgs. 100 Second book comes out on June 13! <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book. It has a lot of suspense so if i were you then i would go ahead and buy all of the books that have come out so far in the series. Unless you are one of those people that disagree with me. ;( anyways the book is one of the best that i have read all yaer in fourth grade, so i totally recomend this book. Please excuse the incorrect spelling.:) READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a great book. As a librarian I am Planning on reading it to my classes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its at my book fair
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Preaty good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just can't wait till the book Trial by Fire comes out!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sample sucks but the story is way better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks reall good but my mom will not let me get it
Nanvar More than 1 year ago
My grandson is in 3rd grade and really enjoyed this book. He is however worried that they are still on the island. I just ordered the sequel!