Q&A with the kiddo: A kid’s-eye view of Stranded

Book Review: Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts

From Amazon:

A family vacation becomes a game of survival!
It was supposed to be a vacation–and a chance to get to know each other better. But when a massive storm sets in without warning, four kids are shipwrecked alone on a rocky jungle island in the middle of the South Pacific. No adults. No instructions. Nobody to rely on but themselves. Can they make it home alive?

A week ago, the biggest challenge Vanessa, Buzz, Carter, and Jane had was learning to live as a new blended family. Now the four siblings must find a way to work together if they’re going to make it off the island. But first they’ve got to learn to survive one another.

Proudly presenting Q&A with the kiddo, courtesy of my 10-year-old son, in which I ask my kiddo to describe a book he’s enjoyed recently and he gives his opinions, more or less unfiltered by mom.

Without further ado:

Q: What book do you want to talk about?

A: Stranded

Q: What was it about?

A: It’s about these kids who get stranded on an island. They were on a boat and there was a boat wreck. The adults were gone, so there were just four kids on an island surviving for themselves.

Q: Who was your favorite character?

A: Carter and Jane. They’re the most adventurous and outdoorsy and fun and not scared.

Q: What was the best part?

A: My favorite part is when they get sucked in [by strong currents in] the water. They’re in the water and they finally pop out and Carter catches Jane and they swim back to shore.

Q: Would you recommend this book?

A: Yes. I’d recommend it for adventurous kids and kids who like stories with cliffhangers.

Q: Do you want to read the rest of the series?

A: Yes! I want to read the next book when it comes out.

Q: Do you have anything else to say about this book?

A: It’s funny, it’s fun to read. You should read it or it’s your loss.

Mom’s two cents:

My kiddo and I are big fans of Survivor on TV, and so when I heard that Survivor host Jeff Probst was writing a book series for kids, I knew we had to get it! My son read Stranded on his own, and thought the reading level was perfect. He like the book so much that he pretty much insisted that I read it as soon as he finished. Stranded is really a lot of fun, with a good solid lesson in there as well (although without any preachiness or heavy-handedness). The four children in the book are step-siblings who are being treated to a sailing adventure while their parents are on their honeymoon. While my son mostly focused on the adventure aspects of the story, I liked the portrayal of two sets of brothers and sisters forced to figure out how to redefine their family and accept one another’s quirks, talents, and weaknesses. When the two adults on board are separated from the kids during a sudden storm at sea, they have to rely on themselves, their bonds, and their skills and knowledge to figure out how to survive — and hopefully, how to get themselves rescued.

The blended family aspect provides a nice layer of complication to the high-adrenaline disaster and adventure story. Stranded is the first in a trilogy, and ends — as my son mentions — with a big cliffhanger. We’ll both be back for the next installment!

Stranded is a good choice for middle grade readers, especially those just gaining comfort with reading chapter books on their own. It’s not very long, but it’s certainly engaging and exciting. Any time my kiddo asks for “5 more minutes!!” while he’s reading, I know we have a hit on our hands.

My only complaint? Nowhere in the book does anyone say, “The tribe has spoken.” Maybe in the next book? One can only hope.

Stranded 2: Trial By Fire will be released in June.