Alone in the Woods

Sourcebooks. Oct. 2020. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492673378.
Gr 5-7–It’s the first day of the annual family trip that Jocelyn (“Joss”) and Alex’s families take every summer to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, but this vacation looks nothing like the fun-filled trip that Joss anticipated. Alex has just ended their friendship, and now wants nothing to do with her, preferring to spend all her time texting her new best friend Laura Longbottom, the coolest girl at Walden Middle School. Ever since Alex befriended Laura at Spanish camp, she’s been a part of the popular crowd. Her interests have changed, and it seems like Joss has been left behind. Joss doesn’t want to go shopping or play with makeup. She just wants to keep the same traditions she’s always had with her best friend. When Joss and Alex are forced to go inner-tubing on the river together, the last thing they expect is to get lost in the middle of the woods. The story is told chronologically through Joss and Alex’s struggle to survive, and in flashbacks to key turning points in their friendship. Readers will empathize with both girls and ultimately root for their reconciliation. If Behrens’s detailed and loving descriptions of the Northwoods of Wisconsin aren’t enough, the “Note on the Setting” will convince readers to take a visit—while practicing safe tubing, of course.
VERDICT A compelling and relatable middle school friendship tale for fans of survival stories.

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