Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 06/2017
  • 9781483599281
  • 208 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 01/2020
  • B083YXVX85
  • 187 pages
  • $9.99
Mike Klaassen
Author
Cracks

Children/Young Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

He was looking for an opportunity to run away from his foster parents. Instead, he embarks on a journey that will either land him in jail or get him killed. Sixteen-year-old Bodie McCann is on a youth-rehabilitation spelunking trip in the Ozarks of Arkansas. When an earthquake crushes the adults, he finds himself stranded in the wilderness with four other juvenile delinquents. Tensions escalate as they struggle to feed themselves and escape the dangers of the wild. After the boys discover a marijuana farm, Bodie makes a decision that traps him deep in a pitch-black cave all by himself. Cracks is another of Mike Klaassen's growing portfolio of youth-oriented adventure stories. Imagine blending Hatchet and Lord of the Flies with a touch of Deliverance and you'll have a feel for this one.
Reviews
The last place 16-year-old Bodie McCann wants to be is on an “innovative youth-rehabilitation program,” spelunking in the Arkansas mountains. Bodie, busted for smoking pot with friends, isn’t uninterested in the outdoors—he’s learned plenty of survival skills from his foster family—but being stuck in a cavern with the judge who sentenced him isn’t his idea of fun. When a series of earthquakes shake the Mississippi River Valley’s New Madrid Fault, Bodie’s team is lucky to make it back to the surface alive—but that’s just the beginning of their odyssey back to civilization. Bodie must choose between making his own way and helping out a group of strangers, including his fellow teenage delinquents Rusty, a Shakespeare-quoting heroin addict; Adam, a paranoid right-wing domestic terrorist; Spider, a prep-school drug dealer; and Tug, a stereotypical redneck thug.

Klaassen blends Hatchet and The Lord of the Flies in this hair-raising, fast-paced adventure. Like those books, this novel reads like a book from another era: its anti-addiction moralizing is reminiscent of 1971’s Go Ask Alice. Narrative voice often reveals the gap in age between its author and protagonist, as when the teenage Bodie bemoans the fact that he’s stuck in the wilderness with “a bunch of young punks.” Some internal inconsistencies will trip readers up; after ongoing negative feelings toward the other characters, at the end he thinks they “didn’t seem so bad after all,” and despite Bodie’s seemingly high level of knowledge about wilderness survival, he’s afraid bats will suck his blood. And, though this is listed as a YA novel, some readers may be uncomfortable with the graphic depictions of death, murder, drug use, and hate speech.

While some newcomers to the natural disaster genre may be bewildered by the randomness and frequency of their occurrence, the novel’s emphasis on earthquakes and their fallout is sure to please disaster-movie aficionados and thriller fans alike. Part survival story, part cautionary tale, Klaassen’s short epic has plenty of twists and turns to satisfy young adult readers. Fans of coming-of-age survival novels will find much to enjoy here.

Takeaway: Earthquakes and perilous adventures abound in this high-stakes teen survival novel.

Great for fans of: Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, Larry Spinelli’s The Library Card.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B-

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 06/2017
  • 9781483599281
  • 208 pages
  • $14.99
Ebook Details
  • 01/2020
  • B083YXVX85
  • 187 pages
  • $9.99

Loading...