Saturday, November 29, 2014

Surrounded by sharks by Michael Northrop

Davey and his family have traveled to the remote Aszure Island in Florida to spend some much needed time relaxing as a family - a chance to escape the pressure and stress of the struggling family business.  It has been two years since their last family vacation and the deal at Aszure Island was too good a deal to miss - but they didn't take into account the lack of space of a whole family crammed into a single hotel room!  

Waking early on the first morning Davey escapes the room to sit quietly and read one of his favourite books.  To find some peace and quiet Davey finds a secluded beach that seems the perfect place, even the no swimming sign seems to make it the perfect location.  Davey has no intention of swimming, but the water seems to call to him and when he decides to wade into the water he has no idea that he has made a fatal mistake - because a rip tide is about to drag him far out to sea.  In the open ocean Davey is alone and vulnerable, no one knows where he is and the sharks are starting to circle.

It can be a challenge to find a really good read for older children that provides them with an authentic read for their age group without depending on popular culture references or gratuitous violence.  Surrounded by sharks turned out to be a real treat, the perfect balance of action, adventure, and suspense - a well paced thriller that draws you in from the first chapter and keeps you hooked (no pun intended) until the last page.  The characters are well defned and easy to relate to, and the drama on the island nicely balances the moments of thrill and danger for Davey.

The only complaint I have about Surrounded by sharks is that it didn't feel anywhere near long enough, I really wanted it to last longer.  Often books are written for much younger children or for teens, so it was a real pleasure to find a book that suits the 'tweens age group really well - and even better one that seems to be the perfect book for adventure loving boys who may be struggling to find good books to read.  A great read and I look forward to sampling more of Northrop's books to see if they live up to the promise of Surrounded by sharks.

If you like this book then try:
  • Shark bait by Justin D'Ath
  • Crocodile attack by Justin D'Ath
  • Island of the blue dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Survival by Chris Ryan
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The zoo at the edge of the world by Eric Kahn Gale
  • The world around the corner by Maurice Gee
  • Red rocks by Rachael King

Reviewed by Brilla

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