Author: M. Liz Boyle
Series: Off the Itinerary, book 1
Major Themes: Survival, Christian Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Synopsis: When five teenagers sneak out of camp to climb a mountain in the moonlight and get caught in an avalanche, what do they have to do to survive?
My boys love stories of outdoor adventures, especially if they include survival in some sort of emergency situation. When I saw Avalanche, by M. Liz Boyle, available for review, I thought my crew might enjoy it. We read a different book by the same title several years ago, and they really liked it, so I took a chance on a YA book (I rarely read them because I don’t like most of them) and requested it.
Marlee narrates the story. She and her sisters, Ellie and Lydie, and their two friends, Sawyer and Marshall, and both sets of parents, are camping in Colorado, as they do every summer. The five young people decide they are going to climb a mountain at night so they can see the view from the top in the light of the full moon. They wait until the adults are all asleep, then slip out of camp with their packs. All goes well—until an avalanche sweeps them down the mountain, burying some of them. They all survive—but some are hurt. Can the ones who are well find a way to get help for the others?
Without much food, and no tents, the night is rough, and so is the trek off of the mountain. Interpersonal relationships are strained, especially between the girls and the boys. Marlee learns some earth-shaking facts about boys and their feelings, and Ellie confesses to her sisters that she has a crush on Sawyer. All this complicates things. Can they lay aside their feelings and work together so they all survive?
I started reading this book aloud. We got about halfway through before my boys had had enough. I skipped over a number of passages that had to do with boy/girl stuff, and they still thought there was way too much of that. All they wanted from the story was the adventure part. I read the rest of the book myself and told them what happened. So, the moral of this story is, Avalanche is not a book for boys! If you have girls who like adventure and light romance wrapped up together, it would be a good fit.
Another thing my boys didn’t like very well was that the children in the story took off at night, without their parents’ approval. The young people in the story did come to realize they had done wrong, and they apologized, but they ended up being rewarded at the end. I don’t really care for this example, either. On the other hand, this is a story about teenagers being resourceful when they needed to be, and working together to help those who are hurt. I liked the way they learned to get along together.
I received a free copy of this book from CelebrateLit, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Several times, mention is made of a girl having a crush on a boy. The word yikes appears several times.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15