cover image Crash


Joseph Monninger. Scholastic, $5.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-56348-2

The calamitous action in this first novel in the Stay Alive series occurs in the opening pages, as a small plane crashes into a lake in the Alaskan wilderness. In addition to the pilot, on board are seven young stars of a TV magazine show about teens’ outdoor adventures, the father of one of the kids, a producer, and the show’s basset hound mascot. Monninger (Finding Somewhere) describes the crash with an eerie calmness before diving into the ensuing chaos. There is no sugarcoating the danger: the pilot and one teen perish in the crash, and another dies of his injuries. The remaining passengers are thrust into a battle to survive, contending with hunger, falling temperatures, ubiquitous insects, rain, snow, and fear. Though there are a lot of characters to track, their personalities sharpen as the story explores psychological as well as physical survival. “Survival Tips” that open each of the book’s four sections, along with similar details scattered throughout the dialogue and narration, bring the story even further into the realm of the real. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)