15 Secrets to Survival

Delacorte. Nov. 2023. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593644126.
Gr 3-6–Because their parents are best friends, Baxter, Abigail, Turner, and Emerson have been thrown together since they were babies, even being dubbed “The Get-along Gang.” But the group is very different now, and they haven’t actually been real friends in years. In fact, they actively dislike one another. When a school project goes awry due to “inappropriate use of the text chat feature,” their parents decide to send the four off to Baxter’s eccentric uncle, an ex-camp counselor and wilderness expert, for a weekend teamwork bootcamp in western Montana. Things do not go well. First there’s the addition of Baxter’s 18-month-old sister, Vivi, to their group (and the horror of changing her diapers). Then Uncle Hornsby unexpectedly goes missing, leaving the kids with nothing to guide them but a few pages of a survival handbook. This highly readable thriller highlights four kids with unique talents, all of which become crucial to complete their seemingly impossible task. Excellent characterization, rich details, and an exciting setting bring every harrowing adventure to life as the kids learn the value of working together, and the value of one another’s strengths and passions.
VERDICT A teamwork-oriented update of Hatchet, this fast-paced adventure story is recommended for all collections.

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