A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is intense -- some characters die, and there are gruesome injuries -- but it may be a good choice for reluctant readers. An impossible-to-put-down story, it makes no claim to being great literature, but realistic excitement directed straight at teens keeps them reading. This book may inspire readers to learn about emergency care.
What's the story?
Heidi is sixteen, living on a huge estate. She can't get better than C's, can't make many friends, and doesn't think much of herself. Patrick is seventeen, from a working family, and lives to be a volunteer emergency worker.
While Heidi's parents are away, a 747 crashes into her estate. She makes her uncertain way toward the passengers, leaving her insecurities behind, simply to act. Patrick arrives first to wade through the carnage, while Darienne, a passenger, walks away unhurt.
Hundreds of workers arrive and the book follows several of them, always focusing on the three teenagers: Heidi, Patrick, and the beautiful but incredibly selfish Darienne.
Daniel, a fifteen-year old trapped in the wreckage, feels his anger toward his parents dissolve as he wonders if he'll walk again, or even live. But everyone forgets little five-year-old Teddie. Will she survive? Heidi and Patrick find unknown strengths within themselves as the suspense blazes forward.
Is it any good?
An entertaining melodrama, this adventure novel is a good choice for reluctant readers. It doesn't have much literary merit, but it is terrific entertainment with a good message. The characters must all let go of some ingrained ideas they have about themselves, and in giving up these falsehoods, they mature. The story features both male and female leading characters, so both boys and girls will be able to identify with at least one of them and imagine themselves stumbling through the wet forest, frantically trying to save injured passengers.