Saturday, August 20, 2022

Out of Range, by Heidi Lang

As the story begins, three estranged sisters (Abby, Emma, and Ollie) are lost in the woods.  Angry with each other and carrying deep grudges, they blame each other and fight.  Needless to say, this doesn't help, but in fact makes their situation worse.  As the weight of the danger they are in becomes clear though they find a way to cooperate.  

Through flashbacks, the story of how they got to this point unfolds.  Once the closest of friends, innocent pranks led to hurt feelings and vindictive acts of revenge, escalating to the point where the three girls could not stand each other.  Their parents, seeking a way to break through the impasse, send them to survival camp, which is where they end up lost in the woods.

Built on strong and vivid characters, this thrilling survival story for middle readers is a great read.  Its messages of forgiveness and cooperation are such no-brainers and the eventual reconciliation between the sisters so predictable that the journey itself becomes the point of the story.  I enjoyed it but, as an adult, I wondered about the girls' parents and their seeming inability to help their children navigate their problems.  Middle schoolers will simply enjoy a thrilling adventure, the familiar grudges and battles of siblings, and the comfort of the resolution.

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