In the thrilling final book of S.A. Bodeen's middle-grade Shipwreck Island series, it's up to a young girl to save her shipwrecked family from a time-traveling "curator" of souls and a treasure-hunting criminaland get them off the island!
Sarah Robinson and her family are shipwrecked on a remote and mysterious island. Their food is scarce and there's no sign of rescue. They have seen strange creatures, rescued a mysterious girl, and found the Curator, who has captured Sarah's father and stepbrother to use in a bizarre time travel experiment. And then the only man who knows about their island comes backhe's looking for buried treasure, and won't leave without it, even if it means leaving the Robinsons stranded.
Time is running out. They must get off the island.
Praise for the Shipwreck Island series:
“Exciting series debut . . . Intensely readable and will be excellent for reluctant readers.” School Library Journal on Shipwreck Island
“Will leave readers hungry for a second helping.” Kirkus Reviews on Shipwreck Island
Read them all!
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By S. A. Bodeen
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2017 S. A. Bodeen
All rights reserved.
Sarah Robinson was in a tunnel of trouble, long and dark with no light whatsoever at the end. Worse, there was absolutely no one to lead her out.
For three days and nights, her family had been marooned on Shipwreck Island with their skipper's dog, Ahab, and Cash, a girl they found on the beach at the end of the second day. In that short time, Sarah had been chased by giant coconut crabs, nearly eaten by a shark on legs, and taken prisoner — albeit briefly — by an alien named Leo.
As if that wasn't enough, her stepmother, Yvonna, was very ill in the early stages of pregnancy. Yes, Sarah and her stepbrothers, Marco and Nacho, would soon be connected forever by a new brother or sister. (And Sarah hadn't even had the time to figure out for sure how she felt about that.) Plus, the last time she saw her father, John, he had been turned into a human freeze pop by Leo in a strange and possibly deadly experiment.
One would think things were as bad as they could possibly be. But Sarah knew that anyone who thought that would be mistaken.
Because, on the dawn of their fourth day on the island, she woke on the beach beside the fire to find herself confronted by Fox, the man who had commandeered the sailboat belonging to Cash's grandfather, Sarge. Fox was on the hunt for a missing treasure, one that he may have left on the island. And he would stop at nothing to recover it.
With Fox only feet away, Sarah stood in the sand and held tight to Ahab's collar with trembling hands. She stared out at Sarge's sailboat floating in the lovely blue lagoon. If only she could get out there. Then she could call for help, maybe find a way to make Yvonna feel better, and get her family off the island. But there was no chance of any of that happening, not after what she'd told Fox.
When he'd stopped here on Sarge's sailboat tour, Fox hadn't realized this island was the one he was after. It looked different because Leo and his alien grandfather had changed the appearance of the island in many ways that made it unrecognizable to Fox as the place where he had been marooned and hidden his treasure.
But there had been one landmark, one thing that would prove beyond a doubt that this was the island where'd he'd left the treasure: the face rock. Sarah had told him the truth, that she had seen it. And now she had no choice but to take him there.
But what would happen when they reached the spot and Fox realized that his treasure wasn't there?
Her only hope was to stall him, lead him around until they met up with her dad and Marco. If the alien, Leo — who had proven to be untrustworthy in the short time they'd known him — had done as he promised and unfrozen her father.
Sarah crossed her fingers and whispered, "Dad, please, please be on your way back."
"You! Girly," Fox called to Sarah as he held a struggling, wide-eyed Cash. "Help me tie her up."
Sarah swallowed a gasp. "Why do you have to tie her up?"
"She's not coming with us. And I don't trust her here alone." He frowned. "In fact ..."
He grabbed Sarah.
She tried to get away, but his firm grip was too strong. And too painful.
Fox bent a leg to kick him, and Sarah screeched, "No!"
Fox scowled. "You tie him to a tree or I will."
Fox released her and she led Ahab over to a palm tree. Fox gave her a length of rope and hovered over them, but she kept herself between the man and the dog.
Ahab whined and licked Sarah's cheek.
She buried her face in his fur and whispered, "I don't know if you can understand me, but you need to get away. You need to run and hide. Like, right now. Boy, do you understand —"
With a yip, Ahab tugged away from Sarah and ran for the trees.
Fox raised the gun.
"No!" Sarah dropped the rope and plowed into Fox, nearly knocking him over.
He shoved her back and regained his footing.
Sarah whirled around, looking for the dog. But Ahab was gone. At least one of them got away.
Fox snatched up the length of rope and grabbed her arm. "No more messing around!" He dragged her over to a palm tree and tied the girls' hands together. Sarah found herself stuck to the tree with Cash as Fox strode off toward the dinghy on shore.
She shot a glance toward the monkey pod trees, where her younger stepbrother, Nacho, peered over the edge of the platform. "Maybe he can free us."
As if her words carried that far, he slid a leg over the edge and began to lower himself.
"No!" whispered Cash. "What if Fox catches him?"
Sarah said, "I think there's time."
Nacho quickly dropped to the ground and ran toward them, sticking close to the shelter of the trees to stay hidden.
Fox dragged the dinghy into the water and began rowing back to the sailboat.
Nacho reached them, gasping a bit. "Are you okay?" "We're tied to a tree," said Cash. "What do you think?"
Nacho dropped to his knees behind the tree, and Sarah felt his fingers fumble with the rope. "It's so tight. Do you have a knife?"
Sarah rolled her eyes. "No." Marco had one, but he probably took it with him.
As Nacho kept working on the knots, Fox reached the sailboat. Two more people climbed into the small craft.
"Sarge!" said Cash.
The dinghy was heading back to shore.
"Why would he bring your grandpa here?" Sarah frowned.
Cash grinned. "I don't care! I'm just glad he is."
Sarah said, "Nacho, you'd better hurry."
"It's too tight!" He pulled on the rope around Sarah's wrists.
The small craft drew nearer.
"It's no use, Nacho," said Sarah. "You need to go."
Nacho said, "I can do this."
"You can't let him catch you."
"But I want to help!"
"Getting tied up yourself isn't going to help anybody." Sarah realized she sounded bossy. So she tried a never-before-used, caring-older-stepsister voice. "Nacho, just get back to the platform and stay out of sight."
Nacho moved around to her side of the tree.
Sarah rustled up a smile that she hoped looked genuine. "It'll be okay."
He huffed. "Fine." Nacho jogged back toward the monkey pod tree.
Sarah wished he could have managed the knots.
The dinghy reached the beach.
The third passenger was a woman in a white pantsuit and oversize black sunglasses. Her short dark hair didn't move a stitch in the ocean breeze, and her large, blue bejeweled necklace sparkled in the sun. She cradled a yappy white dog in her pale arms. "Is that the woman you told me about?" asked Sarah.
"Miss Blackstone." Cash scrunched up her nose. "She's as nasty as Fox."
"That seems impossible," mumbled Sarah.
Fox and Sarge dragged the dinghy ashore, out of the reach of the waves licking the sand. Cash's grandfather walked in front of the other two, sweat glistening on his bald head, tattoos up and down his dark, muscular arms. His eyes narrowed at the sight of Cash tied up. "If you hurt her —"
Cash called out, "Sarge, I'm fine!"
Sarah whispered, "You might want to leave out the fact that you were blind up until a few minutes ago."
Fox shoved Sarge. He landed on his knees, and his gaze quickly scanned his granddaughter up and down. "Are you hurt?" Cash shook her head. "I'm okay now that you're here."
Fox growled, "This isn't a reunion. Little missy here" — he tilted his head at Sarah — "is gonna take me where I need to go."
Sarge took a long look at Sarah. "Are you alone?"
Sarah wished she could tell him the truth, that her dad and Marco were on their way. At least, she hoped so. Instead, she simply shook her head and gestured toward Yvonna, who lay on the blanket in the sand where Fox had left her. "My stepmom."
Sarge glanced that way. "What's wrong with her?"
"She's really sick," said Sarah.
"So just the two of you?" he asked.
"Yes." Sarah hoped that Nacho would remain out of sight.
"Enough chitchat." Fox flipped open a jackknife. Sun glinted off the sharp, shiny blade.
Fox pinched Sarah's elbow in his fingers and hauled her and Cash to their feet. Sarah shut her eyes as he sliced the rope between her and Cash and only opened them when she was sure he was done and wasn't going to cut her.
He tied Sarge to Cash and then to the tree. Fox held out the gun to Miss Blackstone.
The woman hadn't said a word but wore a heavy look of disdain that required none. She sighed heavily and shifted the dog to one arm. Then she gingerly took the firearm with her free hand, which sported long red nails. Her silence broke in a loud, nasally voice. "Laird, you know how much I hate these stupid islands." She lifted one gold-high-heel-sandaled foot. Sand trickled out. "This had better be the one."
"Bettina, please." Fox sighed. "All you have to do is wait here until I come back with the treasure. Then we'll leave and put this whole thing behind us."
Sarah couldn't help but notice he hadn't mentioned any of them. What would happen when he got the treasure? He needed Sarge to sail the boat. Would he take only Sarge and Cash, leave the rest of them there? Usually in the movies, the bad guys didn't want to leave any witnesses.
Sarah bit her lip. There were too many unknowns. She could not let Fox get the treasure.
His mouth turned up at Sarah, a leering, creepy smile that sent a shiver down her spine. "You ready?"
Sarah knew she had to stall. "Shouldn't we bring some water?" she asked.
Fox frowned. "How far is it?"
"A ways." Sarah had to buy enough time for Marco to free her father. "A long ways. Rugged terrain." For good measure, she added, "Very rugged."
Fox glanced around. "I don't remember anything but even ground."
Sarah cocked her head. "Do you remember these trees?"
"No, actually, I don't." Fox narrowed his eyes at her. "Maybe you're pulling my leg about the face rock."
Sarah sucked in a breath.
Fox was not someone to play around with.
She quickly shook her head. "No, it's real. We saw it." The words were out before she could stop them and she hoped he didn't catch her slip.
No such luck.
"We?" He looked from Sarah to Cash. "You both saw it?"
Sarah caught Cash's eye, but not in time. Cash said, "Not me."
Sarah quickly pointed at Yvonna. "Before she got sick we did some exploring."
Fox seemed to relax a little. "Well, get some water then and we'll be on our way."
Sarah jogged over to the fire to grab a couple of water bottles. On her way, she snuck a glance at the platform, but didn't see Nacho. He was probably staying out of sight. She knelt beside the fire and pretended to fumble in a bag of supplies with her left hand while she scrawled a note in the sand with her right.
Don't let her see you.
She hoped Nacho would find the message and not try to be a hero. Sarah stood up, holding two bottles of water. Hopefully Leo would stick to his word, continue to be their ally, and Marco would return with her dad. They would free Sarge and Cash, rescue them all from Fox, and they could finally get off the island.
Until then, she'd have to get Fox away from there and hope her plan worked. Slowly she headed back to the others.
Fox took Miss Blackstone's elbow. "Let's find you a spot over here in the sand, Bettina."
"More sand?" Miss Blackstone yanked her elbow back. "No thank you." She plopped down under a tree a few yards away from Cash and Sarge. "This had better be the island, Laird. This had just better be the one."
"It is, Bettina. I swear." Fox held up the jackknife toward Sarah.
She froze as the blade came closer and closer to her face.
"I don't take to no funny business, girly."
She shook her head.
Fox folded the blade and stuffed the knife into the pocket of his cargo shorts. "Lead the way."
Sarah tried to calm down as she set off down the beach, thinking, Please, please let this work....CHAPTER 2
Marco tried to get a deep breath as he and John trudged along in the sand under the rapidly warming morning sun. He got a better grip on the silver container of food that Leo had given him. Everyone at the beach would be happy to see it.
But what was happening back at their beach? Had the people on Sarge's boat come ashore? What if they'd hurt his mom or Nacho? Or Sarah or Cash?
He shot a sideways glance at his stepfather. John still seemed slightly dazed, even though nearly half an hour had passed since Leo released him from the module. Now that he was free, he should snap out of it soon, at least Marco hoped so. There was no telling what they might encounter once they arrived at the beach. And he hadn't exactly been truthful. Maybe it was time. "My mom —"
John stumbled as he took his eyes off the sand. He righted himself. "Is she okay?"
Marco clenched and unclenched his free hand. Things were already tense. Did he really want to add to it? "She isn't feeling well."
John stopped walking and faced him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. I mean ..." Marco shrugged. "She said this is normal, that she gets sick every time."
"Every time what?" John frowned.
Marco had no choice but to tell him. "She's having a baby."
His stepfather's mouth fell open and his eyes grew big behind his glasses. "Are you sure?"
That wasn't exactly the reaction of someone who had just gotten happy news. In fact, it was worrying. Marco wasn't yet sure how he felt about getting a new brother or sister, but shouldn't John be pleased? Maybe John didn't want a baby. What would his mom do when she found out?
"Yes," said Marco. "I'm sure."
John grinned and shot both fists straight up above his head. "Woo!" He grabbed Marco by both arms. "This is wonderful!"
Good. His stepfather was okay with the news. Marco grinned and held up his palm. "But you have to listen."
John still wore a huge smile. "Okay."
"Mom's really not feeling well. She said that last time she got so ill she had to go to the hospital."
John's expression turned somber. "We need to get off this island."
Marco said, "I think there's a way."
"How? Tell me as we go." John took off with huge strides.
Marco jogged and caught up. "Cash's grandfather is back."
"With his boat?" John's eyes lit up. "That's terrific!"
"Not really." Marco shook his head. "Those people are still with him. The ones that stranded Cash. The boat had just showed up in the lagoon when Leo and I left."
"You left Sarah and your mom?"
"Well, yeah. And Nacho and Cash are there too."
"You left all of them?"
"I had to."
John stopped. "How could you do that?"
"I had no choice! We had to go back and get you out so you could help!" Marco's hands became fists as he tried to explain that he didn't simply abandon everyone. "Sarah ran down to the beach, they'd already seen her. She had to stay. And they knew Cash was there. And Mom —"
"What?" John snapped.
"I couldn't move her." A lump formed in his throat. Spoken out loud, his actions did sound lame. Maybe he shouldn't have left. Frustrated, he tried one last time to defend himself. "You weren't there! I did what I thought was the best thing to do at the time."
John's words were softer. "Oh, Marco, of course you did. I should have been there." John squeezed Marco's shoulder. "You did good, okay?" He stared at Marco for a moment. "Are you much of a runner?"
"Fastest on my soccer team." Marco's shoulders slumped. "At home, I mean. In Texas." Which wasn't home anymore.
"You know, we do have soccer in California. My company sponsors a traveling team."
"For real?" Marco stood up straight.
"Yes." John glanced down the beach.
"Are you a runner?" asked Marco.
"Every day but Sunday." John grinned. "Let's pick it up now, shall we? We'll talk soccer when we're on that boat and headed home."
Buoyed by the possibilities, Marco tucked the silver container under one arm and jogged beside his stepfather. But the deep sand soon slowed them down.
John veered toward the water.
"We better stay up here!" called Marco.
"We can move faster on the harder sand."
"Yeah, but —" Was it worth mentioning the sharkodile? They were making good time and would be off that dangerous stretch of sand soon. Marco decided to keep his mouth shut as they kept moving.
They rounded a corner.
John was a few steps in front and stopped.
Marco nearly ran into him. "What?"
John stood there, stiff and still.
Marco wondered whether being frozen had affected him more than he thought. Maybe they shouldn't have been running.
But then his stepfather muttered, "What in the world ...?"
Marco leaned out and looked around him. "Oh no." About thirty yards down the beach sat a shark, fin straight up in the air.
"If it washed up, shouldn't it be on its side?"
Marco didn't give an answer, because he didn't like the only one that came to mind.
The shark moved forward on the sand.
John took off his glasses and wiped them with the bottom of his shirt. "I must be seeing things." He put them back on.
Marco's mouth dried up. "It's not a shark," he whispered. "It's a sharkodile."
Excerpted from Found by S. A. Bodeen. Copyright © 2017 S. A. Bodeen. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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