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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down.
For me, this is just one of those books that easily makes the "I couldn't put it down" category. It's a quick read, with smaller pages at just over 200 total count, with a fast pace and a compelling story. It only takes an hour or two to read.

Ms. Yohalem's first novel is something of which she should be proud. Inspired by true events (that actually have...
Published on August 31, 2009 by Emily J. Morris

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So much potential...
This is a very honest, rambling review...When I requested this book, I wondered what take the author would take on Africa. I was particularly intrigued because the book stated it was inspired by a true story. I've read three different books about Africa this year written for adults--Love in the Driest Season being the very best among them. And I genuinely have a desire...
Published on August 12, 2009 by Anne


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So much potential..., August 12, 2009
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This is a very honest, rambling review...When I requested this book, I wondered what take the author would take on Africa. I was particularly intrigued because the book stated it was inspired by a true story. I've read three different books about Africa this year written for adults--Love in the Driest Season being the very best among them. And I genuinely have a desire to read books set in Africa.

But, from the beginning this book didn't engage me. Typically, I enjoy Young Adult fiction because it is so easy to read and light--compared to many of the adult books I've read. The writing is not especially descriptive. It is the picture on the cover that really plants a picture in your head of the main character, rather than the writing. But, the book didn't feel believable to me after the other books I've read this year about Africa--all nonfiction or autobiographical memoirs.

And I'll be honest, as a former middle school teacher, the attitude of the girl from the beginning to the end bothered me. I don't really want to read another book about a girl who thinks she knows more than her parents. It really makes me sad about our culture. I don't mean to sound harsh in that, but even at the end, I wondered if she really got it--really understood her responsibility and that she was wrong. Near the end she says that she didn't understand her mom's view, but that her mom hadn't tried to understand her.

Lastly, it was inspired by the story of an African girl taken from her village--not an American, or even an ex-pat. That is very different from the kidnapping of an ex-pat's child. So, I find it difficult to say that this was inspired by a true story--they seem to be more different than similar.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down., August 31, 2009
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For me, this is just one of those books that easily makes the "I couldn't put it down" category. It's a quick read, with smaller pages at just over 200 total count, with a fast pace and a compelling story. It only takes an hour or two to read.

Ms. Yohalem's first novel is something of which she should be proud. Inspired by true events (that actually have very little to do with this book), this tales the story of American ambassador's daughter Lucy taken hostage and her subsequent fascinating escape.

Lucy is a powerful yet wonderfully awkward heroine and narrator with insecurities and just a smidgeon of sass. Teenagers will relate to her well. Her vast knowledge of African animal and plant life may strike some readers as a bit too impossible, but nerds do exist and it certainly added to the story.

"Escape Under the Forever Sky" was a pleasant surprise for me. It's well-written and well-told and, again, holding all the ingredients for a can't-put-down read. Good job, Ms. Yohalem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons to Learn, October 22, 2009
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I thought I had reviewed this book, and it is oh whoops because after I read the book I gave it to my 4 teenage grandchildren to read. There are lessons to be learned from reading this book. Lucy wouldn't have gotten herself into such a dangerous situation if she had obeyed the rules her Mother had in place. When Lucy was kidnapped by her friends chauffer and held for ransom she was sorry for disobeying her Mother. She was held in a caged pen and could hear her captors talking from a distance away and had to figure out how she was going to escape from them. She was cold, scared and wishing she could go home. She had no idea where she was nor how to get out. She was so afraid she was going to be killed once the ransom was paid. The book has a few twists and turns in it and keeps you on your toes to see if Lucy is going to be killed or if she can really escape. This is a great book for all teens to read and I will repeat myself once again. Lessons to learn from reading this book! I know how the book ends but I don't want to ruin it for everyone else reading it. Parents if you have teenagers then you might consider having them read it and then pass it along to their friends to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucy's "traveils", August 20, 2009
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MS (San Jose,CA) - See all my reviews
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For a first book and for the intended audience (junior), Eve has done it well.
Starting and the end of the book is great, but the middle of the book sags a little because of the long recounts of Lucy. The author has done enough research on the locale of the story and that shows through most of the book.
The best things about this book:
1. A teenager can idenity with Lucy; there is reasonable characterisation (character development) in the book that you can remember this book even after some time.
2. While it is hard to believe certain things (Lucy with the Lions and the monkeys, for e.g.), similar things have happened and have been reported before and these incidents are also brought up naturally in this book.
Lastly, the book has a nice cover that fits with the locale (Ethiopia)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing summer safari for all ages, July 28, 2009
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Lucy Hoffman is the 13-year old daughter of the US Ambassador to Ethiopia. By all appearances she lives a charmed life in the middle of one of the poorest countries in Africa. A driver escorts her from the gated compound to private school. She rides in motorcades to official dinners where she dines with various world leaders. Servants attend to all her needs. She wants for nothing - except her freedom.

After six months, all Lucy knows of the culture and geography she has learned from reading books and talking to her driver, Iskinder. Like the wild animals she visits on her trips to the National Park with Ranger Dahnie, she yearns to explore rural Africa. She eventually gets her wish but not at all the way she imagined.

Lucy and her mother, the Ambassador, are embroiled in a serious disagreement over the touchy subject of her freedom. She has been grounded for going to the outdoor market in Addis Ababa with her school friends. She is furious at her mother. When she's finally allowed to go to her friend, Tana's house for a short visit, they sneak off to hear a local band at a restaurant. There she is kidnapped and the real story begins.

Lucy is held in a small hut in the country. Her kidnappers, a British woman and 2 African men, are so disorganized and one of the men is so violent she is certain they will kill her. Even though she is keenly aware that certain death might also await her in the dangerous wilderness, she believes her only option is to escape. What follows is the most challenging adventure of a lifetime.

"Escape Under the Forever Sky" is a suspenseful and spell-binding tale of Lucy's bravery and resourcefulness as she draws on everything she has learned about this mysterious land to guide her incredible journey. Yohalem's abundant research shines through with vivid details. From the colorful, bustling marketplace in Addis Ababa to the hidden dangers and natural beauty of the Ethiopian wilderness, young readers will feel like they are right there with Lucy through all her exploits. This is an intriguing summer safari for all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Escape for a Weekend Afternoon of Reading!, July 26, 2009
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Sadie (Ventura, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Plucky, likeable, 13 year old Lucy lives with her mother, the Ambassador of Ethiopia. One of the few privileges Lucy has is going on day trips into the African bush with her mentor, Dahnie, who teaches Lucy about the wild animals and the African wilderness. As far As far Lucy is concerned, her mother is extremely over protective of her. So, she takes risks that she shouldn't like sneaking out for an afternoon adventure with one of her only friends, Tana. Unfortunately, someone she trusts takes advantage of her adventurous spirit and kidnaps Lucy. What happens next is a riveting story of how a young girl uses her wits, common sense and everything Dahnie taught her to get herself out of a dangerous situation and back to safety.

While the book was engrossing, I couldn't help but feel that Lucy was very immature before she was kidnapped, but then suddenly started acting like someone many years older then herself once she finds herself in a dangerous situation. In fact, it had me checking back to the beginning of the book to see if I had misread her age. I would have liked to see some of the same common sense in Lucy before the kidnapping in order to tie the personality of the character to how she eventually saved herself from her kidnappers. The author, Eve Yohalem, did an excellent job of researching the politics of Ethiopia, the wild animals and the geography of the African bush. Overall, she successfully manages to take a true incident and spin a fictional tale of what could happen if a resourceful young girl finds herself in a life-threatening situation. Both young boys and girls should enjoy reading this novel. It will hold your interest from the very first page until the end. Plan on reading it straight through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, September 21, 2009
Thirteen-year-old Lucy Hoffman dreams of exploring the wilds of Africa - the hot desert sands beating around her and exotic animals around every corner for her to study. This wouldn't be so ironic if she didn't already live in Africa.

As the daughter of the American ambassador, Lucy spends her days cooped up in a guarded compound in Ethiopia with only school and the occasional game drive through the local wildlife park to keep her entertained. She even got in major trouble when she snuck off to visit the marketplace with her two native friends. Her mother actually sent out a SWAT team of marines to retrieve her!

Once she's finally allowed out again after that little incident, she and her friend Tana decide to sneak off for a concert at a local restaurant...and Lucy ends up kidnapped. Now, she really is out in the bush, fighting for her life and trying to escape her captors.

She never thought she'd be exploring Africa this way, and all she wants to do now is return home. During her captivity and escape, we catch a glimpse into her memories as she travels back, thinking of different times in her life and how they've brought her to today. With limited access to food and water, and having no idea where in Ethiopia she is, Lucy must use her wits and acquired knowledge of African ecology to survive and find a way home.

This endearing story about a headstrong, intelligent heroine is based on an actual incident that took place in Ethiopia in 2005. Although the real tale involved a native villager, this book works to bridge the gap between nationalities and point out that people of all cultures have the same goals, hopes, fears, and dreams.

Reviewed by: Allison Fraclose
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic adventure set in Africa, September 26, 2009
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ESCAPE UNDER THE FOREVER SKY by Eve Yohalem is a book I'm so, so happy to have found. As a reader, I loved it for its richly drawn setting - the descriptions of the African wilderness. And as a teacher, I love the fact that it's a book I'm going to be able to share with so many different kinds of kids. It has so many of the things I look for in a novel to pass along to my seventh grade students.

Strong girl characters? Check. Lucy, the daughter of an American diplomat in Ethiopia, is a girl who knows her own mind, and while her choices might not always be the smartest, she is a competent and creative problem solver, one who understands and respects the wildlife of Ethiopia.

Fascinating setting? Check. The Ethiopian landscape is almost a character in itself. I wasn't at all surprised to read the author's note at the end of the book and find out that she did indeed travel to Ethiopia for her research. The descriptions, right down to the smell and feel of a lion, were too vivid for anything else.

Adventure and action? Check...in a big way. When Lucy is kidnapped in the early chapters, this novel kicks into high gear and doesn't let up until the very end. Kids who need that page-turning action are going to be thrilled with this novel, and they'll get some fantastic characterization and intriguing information about the people and wildlife of Africa along the way. This is going to be a great "next book" for kids who love HATCHET, TOUCHING SPIRIT BEAR, and ALABAMA MOON.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Lavish Setting, Plot and Characters Needs Work, August 20, 2009
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Escape Under the Forever Sky is targeted towards teens but seems, with a couple of content issues, more appropriate for tweens. The setting descriptions are lavish and you will get the sense of being in Ethiopia and some sense of the culture. However, Lucy, the main protagonist, is written at times as though she is 10 and at other times as though she is 14-15; her voice is not consistently that of a 13 year old and although 13 year olds may have behavior swings, the character's changing age behavior makes it hard for the reader to stay with the story. Secondary characters and the kidnapping plot are not developed enough, another 50 pages would have given the book more depth. The most believable parts are the descriptions of the Ethopian countryside and the animals in their habitats. While the kidnapping of an American is a plot that is plausible, the character always seems too much in control of herself during what should be a terrifying situation; the reader doesn't get a sense of grave peril. Also, too much of the kidnappers motivation is explained away at the end and not clarified during the story. A tween who likes exotic settings might enjoy this book but be warned, there is a brutal scene with a dog. However, this doesn't read like a book that will hold a teenager's interest. My own teens, avid readers, didn't even have an interest in trying the story beyond a couple of chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Likeable narrator, tons of interesting facts, good story=winner!, October 6, 2009
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Kid Kyoto (United States) - See all my reviews
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Lucy is the Ambassador's daughter living a sheltered and overprotected life in Ethiopia. When she's kidnapped she must escape with only her wits to save her.

Eve Yohalem's debut novel is a strong read. For most Americans Africa is just a blur of Tarzan, animals and violence. Ethiopia is dimly remembered as a place of famines and singing 'We are the World'. But Yohalem manages to bring modern Africa to life. Yes there are lions and monkeys, yes there is a kidnapping, but it's also an Ethiopia with internet cafes, Chinese-built soccer stadiums, and real people who transcend clichés.

The book is narrated by Lucy and Yohalem manages to make her a likeable character. She's a bit spoiled but clever enough to recognize it and make jokes. She's interested in Ethiopia and her main resentment is her over-protective mother won't let her see more of it. When she's kidnapped (maybe her mother wasn't so over-protective after all) her omnivorous reading about wildlife pays off helping her figure out where she is and to escape her captors.

Yohalem packs in a lot of information about Ethiopia and about the natural world but the exposition never feels forced. Bravo for writing a book that sheds light on a part of the world most American teens never think about.

My only complaint was the book should have a map to tell readers more about the country.
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Escape Under the Forever Sky
Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem (Paperback - November 16, 2011)
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