Sunday, September 27, 2009

Escape Under the Forever Sky, by Eve Yohalem

Lucy Hoffman lives a life to which very few of us could relate. As the daughter of the US ambassador to Ethiopia, she lives in relative luxury, but is trapped within the walls of the American compound. Let out only occasionally (for school and a tour of the safari), she longs for some freedom and a little adventure. But when she is kidnapped, she gets more of that adventure than she bargained for. Escaping is only her first challenge, as she must now survive somehow in the harsh wilds of Ethiopia.

This is one of those marvelous middle readers that combines some decent adventure and suspense with lots of local color and charm (creating both entertainment and education). To an adult reader, it is fairly obvious that Yohalem is dumping large dollops of personal experience and favorite tales (often haphazardly) into the story, but the narrative moves so quickly that it never bogs the story down. If anything, the story seems a bit intense for the lower end of the 8-12 age range it is being pitched at, but age-appropriateness is not really something I follow too much about. Children will enjoy this book for the suspense and excellent story-telling. I enjoyed it for being both entertaining and enlightening.

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