96 Miles

Tor/Forge/Starscape. Feb. 2020. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250192301.
Gr 6-9–Readers who enjoy realistic survival stories will not be able to put down Esplin’s debut. An adventurous account of two brothers’ 96-mile journey to find help in a post-blackout Nevada desert. A perfect storm of events leads John and Stew to be left home alone during the worst blackout the country has ever known. No one knows what caused it, but the Lockwood brothers thought they had everything they needed to survive. When strangers come and steal their supplies, the brothers are forced to trek to a ranch they know will help them. Filled with survival techniques, danger, and overcoming realistic obstacles, this story will have readers turning pages. A great choice for lovers of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet or Roland Smith’s Peak. Survivalists, campers, and scouts will love the authentic techniques the boys use to survive alone in the desert. Esplin paints a comprehensive representation of what a trek like this would be like for middle school readers.
VERDICT Rough and rugged, this story will have readers eagerly awaiting what’s next for John and Stew. A great addition to any middle or high school collection where survival books circulate well.

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