From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–With his new GPS, 14-year-old Chase is eager to explore geocaching in the high foothills near his remote Arizona tourist town. Mountain biking to the site of a woodland geocache, he and his dog, Dexter, find a cryptic note that leads to an eventual encounter with two young, wary brothers. As Chase befriends the boys and learns of their hidden campsite and strange, reclusive father, he suspects this may be a case of parental kidnapping and searches the Internet for clues, successfully identifying the missing boys, then locating and contacting their hopeful mother. Chase's parents are divorced, yet amicable, and he feels loved both by his remarried mom and her husband, Rick, as well as by his dad, who lives in Phoenix. This family support affords Chase strength when he is knocked out and taken captive by the boys' suspicious father. But having told his family nothing about all his investigations, there is a coming-of-age lesson when Chase, relying on his own resources, narrowly escapes and must traverse the hazardous desert in the dark of night. Mystery and adventure propel this readable survival story that will hit the spot with Gary Paulsen's fans and may also entice reluctant readers.Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
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Chase enjoys geocaching as a break from all the hard work at the small Arizona mountain resort owned by his mom and stepdad, and he frequently takes off into the woods with his dog in a quest to discover containers hidden by other enthusiasts. On one trip, however, Chase encounters a pair of hungry, scruffy little boys, who are camped out with a mysterious man. Eventually, Chase learns that the man is the boys’ father and that he kidnapped his sons from their home in Wisconsin months earlier. When one of the boys becomes seriously ill, Chase tries to help but ends up in serious danger. Grant creates a well-paced adventure novel that taps into the growing popularity of geocaching, and the story is deepened by her developed portrayal of Chase. Many young readers will recognize the delight that Chase takes from being alone in the high country, observing the wildlife, and exploring the rugged landscape. Try this with fans of Jim Arnosky’s The Pirates of Crocodile Swamp (2009). Grades 5-8. --Todd Morning