In this authentic survival adventure, Sarah, a 13-year-old scholarship student, leaves her preppy classmates on a weekend trip to the Everglades and takes off with Andy, 15, a kind local who offers her a brief guided tour in his airboat. After the boat sinks, they walk for three days through the swamp with little food and water�fighting off mosquitoes, snakes, and alligators�until, finally, helicopters rescue them. What comes through best here is not only the teens� courage and mutual support but also the realism of their fights and weaknesses, even in the small moments, as when he apologizes after he can�t stop himself from guzzling all the Gatorade. Andy is white and ashamed that his dad flies the Confederate flag. Sarah, in turn, is ashamed when she loses it and calls Andy a backwoods redneck (she doesn�t reveal that she is black until the very end). It�s the identity questions as much as the taut rescue story that will resonate with readers. Grades 7-10. --Hazel Rochman
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About the Author
Young Adult novelist, Ginny Rorby, is the author of Dolphin Sky, (Putnam, '96) Hurt Go Happy, (Tor Books, '06) The Outside of a Horse, (Dial Books, '10) and Lost in the River of Grass, (Lerner Books, March '11) Dolphin Sky was nominated for the Keystone Reading Award. Hurt Go Happy was a Junior Library Guild, a Scholastic Book Fair selection, has been nominated for reading awards in six states and won the ALA's 2008 Schneider Family Book award. The Outside of a Horse is a Scholastic Book Fair selection, and Lost in the River of Grass is a Junior Library Guild selection, a Scholastic Book Fair selection, and has just been nominated for the Sunshine State Reading award. Ginny was raised in Winter Park, Florida, and lived in Miami during her career as a Pan American flight attendant. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Miami, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her goal, after wrapping up her flying career and her graduate studies, was to move someplace where she would never be hot again. She now lives on the chilly coast of northern California with her thirty-year-old parrot and way too many cats. Ginny is director emeritus of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and continues her involvement with this 23 year-old institution. She served as President of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society for seven years, was on the board of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, is past president of the Point Cabrillo Lightkeeper's Association, and continues to serve on the PCLK board of directors.