Young Adult Review: Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

by Ginny Rorby
Carolrhoda LAB, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-8498-4
Grades 7 and up
Copy received from author during giveaway.
Opinions expressed are solely my own.

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah's new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren't exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive.

Lost in the River of Grass takes on the classic survival genre using one of the country's most unique wild places as a backdrop. In this tense, character-driven thriller, Sarah must overcome prejudice and the unforgiving wilderness in a struggle to survive.

 I'm a big fan of survival stories and at its heart that's what this book is, a survival story.  But it addresses two different kinds of survival.  The first kind of survival is physical survival.  Can Sarah and Andy make it out of the Everglades alive? The second kind of survival is emotional/social survival.  Sarah, at the beginning of the book, is struggling in her new school. She doesn't have any friends and she feels like an outcast because her family is not well off and she's has a scholarship. Interestingly in learning to survive in the Everglades, Sarah is also learning how to survive at school. Andy on the other hand, is also facing two kinds of survival, survival in the Everglades, and survival at home.  I found it fascinating to watch the two teenagers struggle with both the physical challenges (alligators, lack of food and water, etc.) and the emotional challenges. 

I thought the way the characters interacted was quite realistic under the circumstances.  Andy strives to protect Sarah because he knows its his fault they get stuck in the first place. Sarah is both angry and afraid.  The stress of the situation as well as inner turmoil leads both Sarah and Andy to make mistakes. They have several fights and occasions when their desperation leads them to do things that hurt the other. That seemed like real behavior to me.

The setting was superbly presented.  I could almost feel the mosquitoes and see the alligator holes.  The author really places the reader in the environment. The scene with the snake and the alligator felt especially creepy.

Plotwise, the story moves along well. I felt like the author did a good job of presenting Sarah at the beginning, which makes sense, since Sarah is telling the story.  Andy slowly becomes more understandable as Sarah gets to know him better. Once the two teenagers are stuck, the story really picks up in terms of tension goes.  It doesn't really let up until the end.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to those who like survival stories with a nice dash of character development. NOTE: there is a moderate amount of swearing and profanity in the book, plus some really intense action as well.


  1. I haven't heard of Lost in the River of Grass before, but it sounds like my kind of book. I like survival stories since Robinson Crusoe :)
    Thank you for the review! :)

    Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer


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