Hit Play on the video above.
The Best Thing about this Book is the combination of the adventure genre with verse.
Premise: Nora blames herself for her mom’s death. If it hadn’t been her birthday or if she’d chosen a different restaurant, her mom would still be alive. Instead, one year later, she and her anxiety-ridden dad who no longer trusts people (except Nora) brings her to a canyon to hike and climb. When an unexpected natural event separates Nora and her father, Nora must survive in the desert and find her father before she loses two parents.
Target: 5-8 grade
Title: Interspersed in the events of the narrative, Dusti Bowling inserts flashbacks as well as therapeutic moments and reflections. The symbolic meaning of both a canyon and an edge are played with here in terms of the wariness we have of falling and the necessity to climb up when we’ve been pushed in (see cover art), among other things.
Main Character(s): Nora (she/her)
Motifs (not exhaustive): grief, PTSD, trauma, anxiety, survival, guilt, reflection, desert, solitude vs. loneliness
Great for…* (readers): who like Hatchet. Dare I say this is a newer, better adventure book rippling with figurative language?
Great for…* (teachers): who want to teach annotation and layers of reading. Good for incorporating poetry and different poetic forms. (Nora writes haikus regularly.)
Parental Warning(s): I mean, it’s there in the premise, isn’t it? Nora is dealing with the loss of her mother in an active shooter situation.
Interact: Which genre of nature’s beauty do you prefer and why: desert? coast? mountain?
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*The “Great for” category is not exhaustive and does not intend to neglect the multitude of readers/teachers who could learn from this book in any number of ways.
٭ = DNF, would not recommend
٭٭ = would not recommend
٭٭٭ = enjoyable, would recommend
٭٭٭٭ = very good, would recommend
٭٭٭٭٭ = amazing, would definitely recommend