Lawrence, Iain. The Skeleton Tree.
January 5th 2016 by Tundra Books
Copy provided by the publisher
Chris is excited to go sailing with his Uncle Jack in Alaska, especially since his uncle, while rather unreliable, is a link to his deceased father. The two get ready to set off, but there is another boy there, Frank, who seems to dislike Chris. Uncle Jack doesn't offer any explanations for the other boys' presence, and, unfortunately, doesn't get a chance to. Very early on, a huge storm hits, and Jack is sucked down with the boat after getting both boys to safety. They was ashore, make their way inland a bit, and find a cabin. While Frank is still hostile, the two use the skills they have to survive, and hope that soon someone will come for them. Secrets are revealed, and the boys realize they are closer than they imagined, despite their differences.
Strengths: The pace of this book is quick; things get off to a roaring start. The survival tactics are all solid and realistic, and there is a requisite bear attack. (Seriously, I think my survival book readers give up on a book if there isn't at least ONE bear attack.) The tension between the boys makes for an interesting twist. The inclusion of items washing up on the shore after the Japanese tsunami is a nice touch.
Weaknesses: The family drama makes the tension between the boys make sense, but didn't add much to the story otherwise. Having the cabin eliminated having to create shelter, which is something I find interesting, but which probably isn't realistic when it comes to actual survival!