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Publishers WeeklyWhen 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.
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