From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-In this exciting survival novel, four kids from a recently blended family are sent sailing to get to know one another better. When a sudden storm front moves in, the boat runs into a rocky shoal and starts taking on water. The children's uncle, the captain, prepares a life raft with his first mate, but the two of them and the raft disappear before the kids can get on. The ship runs aground on an unknown island. Now stranded in the South Pacific, the children must find a way to contact the coast guard and survive. During their adventure, they learn to cross deadly cliffs, go spelunking, and try to keep from being swept out to sea in raging water. The nautical terms and descriptions with little contextual clues are confusing for the first part of the book, but once the children get stranded on the island, the story begins to move at an exceedingly fast and exciting pace. While the plot delivers, the character development is lacking. The youngsters represent different stereotypes and rarely step outside their roles: the thinker, the technology guru, the stubborn athlete, and the problem-solving geek with untapped leadership potential. Readers should be able to identify with at least one character, but the lack of dynamic growth limits the audience to fans of adventure/survival books.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, MEα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this first entry to a new adventure series coauthored by Survivor host Probst, four kids are supposed to bond on a sailing trip as part of a newly blended family (Carter and Jane’s mother has married Vanessa and Buzz’s father). Instead, they end up on their own in the middle of the Pacific. Probst and Tebbetts (coauthor of James Patterson’s Middle School books) begin with a bang in the form of thunder as a storm builds and the two adults on the Lucky Star get blown away on the only lifeboat. The kid characters are not indelibly drawn, but their difficulties—on the boat and then on an island without water or an easy way to communicate with the outside world—are diverting. At book’s end, the boat’s wreckage—and the kids’ only shelter—has been pulled back into the ocean by the current. With only a few minutes to take supplies from the boat before getting to safety, the kids will no doubt be hunting the island’s resources in the series’ next installment. Grades 3-5, --Abby Nolan