cover image The Adventure Is Now

The Adventure Is Now

Jess Redman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-31471-2

Sixth grader Milton P. Greene is having the “Most Totally, Terribly, Horribly, Heinously Rotten Year of All Time” in this contemporary story that turns fantastical. He’s ending the school year friendless, his parents are on the verge of divorce, and he harbors painful memories of a humiliating school experience known as “The Bird Brain Incident.” Milton has grown out of his “Nature Phase” and wants only to retreat into escapism via beloved video game Isle of Wild, so he’s underwhelmed when an invitation from his uncle Evan, a biologist studying a secluded island, results in Milton heading halfway around the world to give his parents space. Initially disappointed by Lone Island’s lack of electricity, pale-skinned, skinny Milton reluctantly befriends the progeny of the island’s other scientists, including brilliant Fig, who has brown skin, and energetic, bronze-skinned brothers Rafi and Gabe; together, the kids search for a hidden treasure that will keep the island and its inhabitants from defaulting to corporate ownership. If myriad quests sap some momentum toward story’s end, Redman (Quintessence) renders compassionate characters in Milton and crew, placing an emphasis on honesty and emotional directness that makes for an affirming adventure. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (May) [/em]