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The Maze

The Maze

4.2 23
by Will Hobbs, Ed Sala (Narrated by)

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Just fourteen, Rick Walder is alone, on the run, and desperate. Stowing away in the back of a truck, he suddenly finds himself at a dead end, out in the middle of nowhere. The Maze. In this surreal landscape of stark redrock spires and deep sandstone canyons, Rick stumbles into the remote camp of Lon Perigrino, a bird biologist who is releasing fledgling


Just fourteen, Rick Walder is alone, on the run, and desperate. Stowing away in the back of a truck, he suddenly finds himself at a dead end, out in the middle of nowhere. The Maze. In this surreal landscape of stark redrock spires and deep sandstone canyons, Rick stumbles into the remote camp of Lon Perigrino, a bird biologist who is releasing fledgling California condors back into the wild. Intrigued by the endangered condors and the strange bearded man dedicated to saving them, Rick decides to stay on. When two men with a vicious dog drive up in a battered old Humvee, Rick discovers that Lon and his birds are in grave danger. Will he be able to save them? In a heart-stopping adventure infused with the spirit of the Icarus myth and a boy's dreams of flight, Will Hobbs brings readers a unique tale of identity, personal growth, and friendship.

01 Blue Spruce Award Masterlist (YA Cat.), 01 AZ Young Reader Award Masterlist (Teen Bks cat.), 00-01 Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Masterlist (Gr. 6-8), 00-01 Black-Eyed Susan Award Masterlist, 00-01 Minnesota's Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Masterlist, 00-01 South Carolina Book Award Nomination Masterlist (Grds 6-9), 00-01 Lone Star Reading List, 00-01 Utah Book Award (Gr. 7-12), 01 Washington State Evergreen YA Book Award Masterlist, 00-01 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr. 6-8), and 01 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award Nominee Masterlist

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sue Reichard
Author Will Hobbs' books are often on the Best Books for Young Adults list. His new book, The Maze, is also sure to be a winner with young teens. Rick Walker is 14, alone, on the run and desperate. Rick has been in foster homes all over the state of California. He has been in six different schools in four years. He has never known either of his parents, and the grandmother who raised him has just died. Rick steals away in the back of a pickup truck and finds himself in a place called The Maze. Readers will devour this tale as Rick searches for himself and also a way out of his troubles.
VOYA - Sarah K. Herz
Fourteen-year-old Rick Walker runs away from Blue Canyon Youth Detention Center near Las Vegas, hides out in the rear of a camper truck, and finds himself "at the end of the world"-Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The truck delivers supplies to an isolated campsite, where bird biologist Lon Peregrino is feeding and observing fledgling condors recently released in the area. Rick is afraid that Lon will notify the authorities, but Lon proves to be the best person Rick could hope to meet. Rick has been in a series of foster homes, and does not trust adults-they have let him down too often. Lon does not pry into Rick's past; he accepts Rick's help in tracking and feeding the condors, and teaches Rick hang-gliding. Gradually Rick trusts and respects Lon, and tells Lon about his past. When Rick risks his life to save Lon, he learns what it means to care about another human being. Through his relationship with Lon, Rick is ready to become responsible for his actions and prepare for his future. Hobbs has written an exciting adventure story about a teenager who changes his negative attitude about rules, adults, and authority. Rick is a richly-textured character who reveals his curiosity about the condors, his appreciation of the Canyonlands, his theory about the Icarus myth, and his realization that his anger and self-pity will not help him mature. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being better written, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
Rick Walker is on the run-from the law, from a series of foster homes, from a pair of gutless gun smugglers, and from the countless knocks that life has handed him ever since his grandmother died four years ago. After a daring escape from a corrupt youth detention center, Rick finds himself lost in the Maze section of Canyonlands National Park. Rick's luck begins to change when he encounters Lon Peregrino, a rough, grizzled loner who is a bird biologist. The two forge a deep bond as Rick aids Lon on his quest to return the endangered California condor to the wild. In this lightning-paced adventure, Rick begins to understand the power of trust and forgiveness. There are vivid descriptions of the condor and also of the arroyos, spires, and rock formations in Canyonlands. Anyone who has ever had a flying dream will thrill to Rick's breathless hang gliding experiences. In the rousing climactic scene Rick takes a desperate gamble and, like the fledgling condor, he learns how to fly solo.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Fourteen-year-old Rick Walker feels that his life is a maze. He's been bounced around from one foster family to another and is sent to a detention center for hard-core juvenile offenders after committing a petty offense. After he reports corruption at the facility, the boy is forced to flee for his life and ends up in an isolated part of Utah's canyon country, near an area called the Maze. Here he forms a friendship with Lon, a biologist who is trying to reintroduce condors into the wild. The two work together, observing and assisting the birds, and Lon teaches Rick to hang glide. When they run afoul of a pair of nasty antigovernment types who are hiding a cache of weapons in the area, their lives are placed in danger. Certain elements of the plot are pretty conventional, appearing in countless young adult novels (troubled teen runs away and finds redemption with wise friend in a remote area). What sets this book apart is the inclusion of fascinating details about the condors and hang gliding, especially the action-packed description of Rick's first solo flight above the canyons in the face of an approaching thunderstorm. Many young readers will find this an adventure story that they can't put down.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL
Horn Book
Rick Walker, product of too many foster homes, is sentenced to serve six months in Blue Canyon Youth Detention Center near Las Vegas. His crime-throwing rocks at a stop sign-hardly seems to warrant such severe punishment. Aware that Rick is not a hardened criminal and concerned for the environment in which he will serve time, his social worker pleads unsuccessfully with the judge. The facility is worse than imagined. Except for the librarian, Rick has little support in a corrupt organization. When he learns that he is in danger from the other inmates, he escapes, eventually finding refuge with a bird biologist in the canyons of southwestern Colorado. As he learns to work with the giant condors that Lon, the biologist, is attempting to introduce into that area, he learns much about himself-his capacity for growth, endurance, and commitment. Ultimately, he must return to society, face the judge who had sentenced him, and resolve his future-but not before he has helped Lon to bring two dealers in illegal weapons to justice and negotiated the Maze, a harshly beautiful landscape of deep canyons and awesome pinnacles. This time, his social worker is not alone in attesting to his character, for Rick bids fair to extricate himself from the maze in which life has placed him. As in Far North, Hobbs spins an engrossing yarn, blending adventure with a strong theme, advocating the need for developing personal values. Again, as in the earlier book, there is a character who serves as mentor and explicator of those values-but the author's sure sense of story prevents him from overwhelming his narrative with philosophical commentary. .
Kirkus Reviews
A well-crafted, straight-up adventure story from Hobbs (Ghost Canoe, 1997, etc.). Confined to a juvenile detention center after traveling through a series of foster and group homes, Rick escapes after trying to blow the whistle on corrupt guards. His flight ends at an isolated camp on the edge of a bewildering system of canyons known as the Maze District, in Utah's Canyonlands National Park, where self-named biologist Lon Peregrino is nurturing six young condors bred in captivity. More accustomed to birds than people, Peregrino doesn't pry into Rick's past, allowing him instead to help keep the condors under observation while they acclimate themselves to new surroundings; he also fills Rick in on their history and behavior and, as the two become friends, teaches him to hang glide. As Rick eagerly soaks it all up, enter two rough locals, Carlile and Gunderson, with chips on their shoulders and a mean pit bull who immediately attacks and kills a condor. Lon suspects them of collecting Anasazi artifacts for the black market until Rick trails them to a cave full of pipe bombs and assault weapons. Hobbs sets the stage for a dramatic hang-glide rescue and throws in a major storm, after which the bad guys are collared and Rick is set on a more promising road. Both the breathtaking setting and the huge, rare birds are strong presences in this page-turner; Hobbs appends a condor release program's web address for interested readers. (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
Edition description:
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Rick Walker tried to swallow, but his mouth was too dry.

"The state of Nevada has a problem with you... " the judge began, then paused to glare at him over his reading glasses.

Rick Walker glanced at his social worker, seated beside him on his right. He wondered if the pause meant he was supposed to answer. He wasn't sure what to make of this bald and bony-headed old man who was the judge. The sign on the door of his courtroom said he was The Honorable Samuel L. Bendix. At the moment he seemed more hostile than honorable.

"Why?" the judge suddenly demanded.

Rick was confused. Why what? What was the judge asking him? Once again his eyes went to his social worker for help. Janice Baker seemed confused too.

As Rick looked back toward the black robe, he felt his lip quiver. In an instant he forgot that his social worker had warned him about the judge's "enormous discretionary power." He reverted to his instincts for dealing with powerful adversaries: don't show fear, or you'll be eaten alive.

With a slight shrug he asked, "Why what?"

He saw the judge's skin flush red up and over his skull. "Why were you throwing the stones, repeatedly, at the stop sign? Why would anyone throw more than thirty rocks at a stop sign?"

Rick knew he couldn't afford to say anything further that would get taken the wrong way. He hesitated, looking deep inside for the real answer. That's what the judge wanted: the real answer.

His hesitation lengthened. Rick didn't know the real answer. The only thing he could think of was his grandmother dying. Everything that went wrong happened because of that. But the judge wasn'tgoing to accept excuses, especially something that happened four years ago. Why was he throwing those rocks?

He didn't know the answer himself. It was all too confusing. All he could remember was being in a sort of trance. It had happened only a few blocks from the group home, on his way from school. He didn't know he had thrown so many rocks. He couldn't even remember what he'd been thinking about. "I don't know," he said at last.

"You don't knowthe judge repeated incredulously.

Rick tried his best. "It wasn't for any specific reason," he explained.

"Not for any reason.

The rising cadence of the judge's voice felt ominous. Rick unfolded his arms and put them down by his sides. "Just general frustration, I guess," he managed.

The judge looked aside, put his fist to his chin, looked back at Rick. "General frustration is what I'm feeling right now myself," the judge said. "Just this morning, over coffee, I read about two juveniles no older than you bludgeoning a nine-year-old to death with a baseball bat. "

So? Rick thought. What does that have to do with me?

The judge paused. His eyes had drifted, unfocusing, to the floor. "So many with no conscience," he said as if to himself. "A petty offender one day becomes a murderer the next. It didn't used to be like this."

The judge's eyes were suddenly back in focus and locked on Rick. "Didn't I tell you just six weeks ago that I didn't want to see you in my courtroom ever again?"

"Yes," Rick agreed.

"Yes, Your Honor," his social worker said under her breath.

"Yes, Your Honor."

Rick felt so light-headed he thought he might faint. In the corner of his vision he was aware of a man in a police uniform coming up the side aisle. It was young Mike Brown, his probation officer, with his trim dark mustache and his face blank like a robot's.

"Say you're sorry," Janice Baker whispered.

Rick glanced at her. He should have said it himself, before this. Now the judge was glaring worse than ever, knowing he'd just been instructed to say he was sorry.

He couldn't, not now. Not when he was being forced to. He had a certain amount of pride. What could the judge do to him anyway? Janice Baker had told him about a place near Lake Tahoe for kids like him who'd gotten into a little bit of trouble. It didn't sound so bad, being in the pine trees and the mountains. It couldn't be much worse than the group home he was in now in Reno. The couple running the group home was only doing it for the money. They didn't even care enough to come to court with him.

His social worker appealed to Rick with a glance. He shook his head.

With a disapproving look at him, Janice Baker rose to her feet "Please take into account Your Honor, Rick's background. He's only fourteen. In the last four years, he has lived in foster homes in Fresno, Stockton, Merced, and Sacramento, California, as well as a foster home and a group home here in Reno. During that time he has been enrolled in six different schools...

The Maze. Copyright © by Will Hobbs. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author's eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada's Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

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Maze 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it sooooooo much it was amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coolest book ever i loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cody we will get u out. Someone is coming to help u. We will c u back at hq. *she pauses* good luck. *the earpiece crackles and she is gone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Rick is a fourteen year old boy who seems to have nothing go the way he wants it to. Rick has been to numerous foster homes after his grandmother died, and he gets thrown in a juvenile detention center when he releases his anger on a stop sign. Almost through his sentence, Rick escapes juvenile detention and steals a man named Lon¿s truck. Lon catches Rick, but ends up turning into one of Rick¿s only friends. Lon is a government bird watcher, and while Rick and Lon spend time watching the birds, a mysterious scheme is going on in the desert right under their noses. Will Rick and Lon save the day? You¿ll have to find out. I overall liked the book very well. There wasn¿t anything wrong with it and the storyline was great. I¿m not the biggest reader though, and I got tired of reading a two hundred fifty page book. This novel is not part of a series, which I personally think is a bad thing, because I wouldn¿t mind reading another book that is similar to this one. Also, this book may not remind me of any other books or television shows, but it is a great book. I also believe that Will Hobbs is a fantastic author and I have been reading and enjoying his books all year long. If I would have to make a suggestion to all the people that love Gary Paulsen¿s work, but you are starting to outgrow his reading level, read a Will Hobbs book because he is the Gary Paulsen of the older teenage generation
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! It's a fantasic, entertaining, and fun read. I recomend this book for people ages 12-15.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was ok. It got me interested. The best part was towards the end when Rick makes a magnificent flight on a hang glider in the middle of a bad storm. The worst part was when Rick was escaping a youth detention center. I didnt like how it went through time so quikly. It would be talking about them being in a meadow, and the next page it would be a day later in their camp site. I would reccommend this book. I'm glad i gave this book a chance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Maze is a Complex book, it's both lame and half-exciting. The part that's the best is when he escapes the Blue Canyon Compound. The Author is very descriptive with how he discribess how he injured his cheek. Another part is three-quarters of the way through book, is he was eighteen thousand feet in the air! I don't know how many kids want to learn about birds from the Ice Age, but I'm not one of them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book isn¿t even good at all. I thought it could have been made a lot better than it really was. They made a story about birds of all things it is pretty much pointless. The best and closest to reality is breaking free, out of the whole book. I would probably recommend this book to people who love to read about birds or is a tree hugger. Other than that I would say don¿t even pick it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very good. It's hard to stop reading once you start the book. This book has a very good hook that grabs you in from the start. The best part of this book is when Rick is looking for Lon on the Hanglider. The worst part of this book is when rick has to go back to the judge and go to another school. I recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure and outdoor books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didnt like this book, it has a good beginning but then it falls apart and it becomes boring. The Maze is about a 14 year old boy name Rick who escapes from prison and he hitchhikes on the back of a truck, ends up in a maze and becomes good friends with a bird biologist. Best part of the book is in the beginning where he runs away from prison, but then it looses all its action when he gets to the maze and the book loses its interest. I would not recommend this book, I'm not a big fan of it. =)
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Maze was a great action packed book! I really enjoyed the real life experiences thrown in so strategically. Will Hobbs really used creativity in linking all of the characters together through personal relationships and background. The only part of this book that I disliked was how quickly the book wrapped up and concluded. If you like action, outdoors, and some suspense, I would highly recommend this wonderful piece of literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The maze is a good book because Rick the main character breaks out of Blue Canyon were he was sent to. The best part of the book is when Rick learns to fly with Lon and when he finds a dead café in the back of the supply truck. The worst part of this book is when Charlile kills one of the birds. If your life is like a maze you should read this book because I think that you would like it because I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a trouble making boy that runs away from a juvenile detention area ate the age of 14. It tells about what happens after that. I thought it had a great ending, but the beginning was very slow. It took a long time to start. The exciment and the action it was very good. My favorite part of the book is when the main character is being chased by two bad guys at the end. I won't give the end away though. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is interested into suspense filled books. It's made for any age, boy or girl. I hope if anybody decides to read it, that they will like it as much as i did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
maze was a vey good book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book The Maze, by Will Hobbs is great. I couldn't tear myself away from it! Blue Canyon Detention Center sounds like a horrible place. Rick Walkers journey to the maze is both exciting and suspensefull. I would recomend this book to anyone who loves adventure and nature. The man Lon in the book sounds like a really great guy. I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My name is Derek and I really enjoyed this book. I was very entertained and was caught in the suspense while reading this novel. I would also call this book a great learning experience. As you read on you learn all about gigantic birds called Condors. When you have learned some information, you get pulled into learning more, just as the main character Rick does. This isa book that you won't put down or keep on the shelf for long.