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Death Mountain

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About the Author

Sherry Shahan is a photojournalist and the author of numerous books for young readers, including Death Mountain and That's Not How You Play Soccer, Daddy!. Shahan lives in California.


Gr 5-8-A day trip to a mountain lake turns to disaster when lightning strikes a pack mule, a mud slide kills a horse, and hikers scatter, seeking shelter. Erin, 14, leaves her new friend Levi with the injured hikers to search for his sister, Mae, who has run off-trail in the confusion. The threesome had only become acquainted that morning when Levi and Mae picked Erin up hitchhiking on their way to Chicken Spring Lake. Independent and unusually outdoor savvy, she was supposed to have been taking a bus to visit her estranged mother but lost the ticket in a restroom. Nonplussed by the dilemma, Erin goes along on the side trip before heading back home. This self-sufficient attitude serves her well in the wilds of the Sierra Nevadas where she employs survival techniques learned from her nature-loving grandmother. The level of technical detail rivals Will Hobbs's Far North (Morrow, 1996) and Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986) as the girls cross raging rapids, care for a lost dog, and stumble upon the remains of a missing ranger. Over pine-needle campfires and meals of wild clover, trout, and miner's lettuce, Mae becomes more self-confident and Erin opens up about the mother who left her without explanation. There is a realistic rather than dramatic rescue as girls find their own way out of the woods, scavenging food from campers and waiting the night out in a shelter. Erin resolves her internal conflict as well, leaving the door open for a mother-daughter reconciliation. A great addition to the adventure-survival genre.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A great addition to the adventure-survival genre."

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