FICTION

300 Minutes of Danger: Countdown to Disaster 1

Sterling. Apr. 2020. 192p. pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781454931416.
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Gr 3-6–These extreme adventure-laced tales shed a light on 10 different youth that are faced with life-changing decisions. For example, Otto’s mom is working to find a cure for a mysterious virus that has sickened the world. Based on genetic tags, they know it originally came from deep in the sea. They need to gather some of this virus resistant sealife to find a cure. The problem is, the person small enough to fit in the tiny submersible has just become deathly ill and young Otto is the only person who can take his place. If Otto doesn’t go down in the sub, thousands more people will die. Otto makes the precarious journey but the life threatening experiences just keep coming. The cable that pulls him back up snaps, there are treacherous sharks in the water, he falls into a crater that forces the ship to descend to a pressure lower than it can withstand, and, finally, he survives this to be attacked by a crocodile the size of a Boeing 747. As each story progresses, there is a countdown on the side of the paragraphs that illustrates how quickly these adventures are occurring for each youngster. Readers know that Otto must have been successful in contributing sealife to extract a cure because subsequent stories feature the cure. In further adventures, Hope is helping to vaccinate others when her vaccination station is hit by a car and she must figure a way out of the wreckage before it is too late. There is also Tony who witnesses a car careening into the vaccination station and rushes to help the impaired driver. Realizing too late that the driver crashed because he is infected with the virus, thus leaving Tony also infected. He only has 30 minutes to get a cure! Adults are not too relevant to these stories. They either get the youngsters into their dire predicaments or the kids must also rescue adults in peril. Readers will cheer on these quick-thinking, young heroes. A great choice for reluctant readers.
VERDICT These heart-pounding, action-packed short stories are sure to appeal to adrenaline junkies as well as those who just like their excitement in book form from the safety of their favorite armchair.

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