Monday, February 6, 2017

MMGM: Hideout & Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key


ABOUT THE BOOK

Twelve-year-old Sam has been given a fishing boat by his father, but he hates fishing. Instead he uses the boat to disappear for hours at a time, exploring the forbidden swampy surroundings of his Gulf Shore home. Then he discovers a boy named Davey, mysteriously alone, repairing an abandoned cabin in the deep woods. Not fooled by the boy’s evasive explanation as to why he’s on his own, Sam becomes entangled in his own efforts to help Davey. But this leads him to telling small lies that only get bigger as the danger increases for both boys, and hidden truths become harder to reveal.

REVIEW

Sam struggles to come to terms with something awful that happened to him and his friend Grover at school.  He feels humiliated and confused about a lot of things, including whether he even wants to be friends with Grover anymore.  To cope, Sam takes his new boat, the Bream Chaser, out to explore the bayou around where he lives.  To his surprise he finds a boy around his own age living in a run down old camping cabin. Davey is waiting for his father and brother to join him, but he's not supposed to be living in this area and swears Sam to secrecy.  Sam likes it out in the swamp, it allows him to forget for a while his humiliation and the fact that the prettiest girl in school witnessed it.  But things go downhill as Sam continues to lie to his parents and Davey's brother turns out to be a jerk who Sam suspects may also be a thief.  Things come to a head when Sam determines that he needs to get Davey away from his brother but gets stranded in the swamp.  I now have a new author to add to my great survival story writers list.  He's right up there with Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs.  There is a bit of swearing and a tiny bit of profanity.  Key's descriptions of the swamp were especially good, I almost felt like I was there.  Hideout makes for both a great adventure story and a great coming of age story. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this gritty, realistic wilderness adventure, thirteen-year-old Cort is caught in a battle against a Gulf Coast hurricane. Cort's father is a local expert on hunting and swamp lore in lower Alabama who has been teaching his son everything he knows. But when a deadly Category 3 storm makes landfall, Cort must unexpectedly put his all skills-and bravery-to the test. One catastrophe seems to lead to another, leaving Cort and two neighbor girls to face the storm as best they can. Amid miles of storm-thrashed wetlands filled with dangerous, desperate wild animals, it's up to Cort to win-or lose-the fight for their lives.

REVIEW


Watt Key has written a nail-biting survival story with Terror at Bottle Creek.  I flew through the book in a day because I had to know what happened to Cort, Liza, and Francie.  Cort lives with his father along a creek in southern Alabama and a hurricane is on the way.  As Cort and his father prepare for the storm, Cort wants his father to stop visiting his mother who left them some months before.  He also thinks about Liza and asking her to an upcoming dance.  But once the storm hits and Cort and the girls end up alone, survival takes priority.  When Francie gets dragged out into the storm by Cort's dog and ends up stranded on Cort's family's houseboat, he can't leave her there, so he and Liza take his father's boat and go after her.  They end up stranded in the bayou with no shelter and rising floodwaters as well as rain and wind.  As they head for higher ground, Cort worries about how he can keep himself and the girls alive, especially once it becomes evident that many animals are heading to the same high ground.  Key does a fabulous job creating a powerful story of courage and determination as well as friendship and family.  I thoroughly enjoyed this as a story of survival as well as growing up and carrying on in the face of seemingly impossible odds.  This is a great book to give to children who enjoyed Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.


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