written by Dee Garretson
Interest Level: Grades 4-8
Reviewed from purchased copy.
BLURB: Just once Luke Brockett
would like to do something slightly dangerous, but when your father is
the President of the United States, that is not an option. Always
surrounded by Secret Service agents and kept in a bubble of safety, Luke
sees Camp David, the presidential retreat in the woods of Maryland, as
the only place where he can almost be normal. For one week in August,
Luke's mother has arranged for Luke to have a 'summer camp' experience,
if summer camp had only three kids and the counselors carried automatic
weapons. The experience comes to a quick end when a forest fire
surrounds Camp David. Luke and his friends are trapped inside, left on
their own, the Secret Service agents incapacitated, forcing the three to
outwit security systems designed to be unbeatable before the fire gets
Reading books like this one encourage me to be grateful for the life I have. I have no desire to live a life as structured and stifling as the one Luke lives. To be followed almost everywhere by bodyguards or the media would drive me bananas. I like my privacy. It would also be so very easy to become dependent on those around you. This kind of book makes me wonder what I would do in the same situation.
In this book, Luke struggles to find a sense of normalcy with his friend Theo which immediately speaks to the reader's sense of empathy. Garretson does a decent job of creating characters that you care about. The focus of the story is on the survival aspects of the children's situation. I appreciated the fact that she doesn't have the kids do things inconsistent with their personalities. In this sort of book that would be easy to do. Survival stories have a unique sort of challenge, the situation needs to be intense without being impossible. There needs to be hope but without making the things the characters do ludicrous. Wildfire Run has a good balance of challenges emotional, physical, and mental. The thing that I found the most interesting was how the children came up with ways to overcome the challenges in front of them. I enjoy reading about people overcoming hard things. The only thing that I didn't find completely believable was the ending. The children would to my mind need awhile to recover from the incredible stress they had been under, yet they seem to be perfectly normal at the end. Other than that however I enjoyed the story and recommend it to all who enjoy a good adventure/survival story.