Tag: YA

Book Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Series: Island of the Blue Dolphins #1
Author: Scott O’Dell
Published: 1960
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  May 20-24, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea.  Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound.  Once, Indians also lived on the island.  And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins.  Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away.  But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs.  It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Jessica’s Review:

While reading the Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen, I decided to listen to another book that I listened to in school: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. I remember enjoying it when I was younger and watching a long movie version at what seemed like 2am while my family was asleep.  Other than an individual living by themselves and working to survive, these are very different books.  Island of the Blue Dolphins is loosely based off of a true story, and our story is about Karana who is left to fend for herself on the island where her tribe lived.  The rest of the tribe was taken away by boat, and Karana maintained hope that they would return for her someday.  Over time she comes to terms of being alone and learning to fend for herself.  Part of that is going against what she was taught: that women should not make weapons.  Well if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have survived on her own!  She makes friends with a dog that she names Rontu. (If I ever have another dog, I will be tempted to name him Rontu as I just loved that name!  And it’s a literary name!)

Eventually Karana is rescued after many years and learns what happened to her tribe.  For me, after the more intense young adult novels of the Hatchet series with Brian constantly struggling to survive, Island was less intense.  Maybe down the road I will read it again.  Maybe it was the narrator as I listened to the novel, or maybe I just lost something by listening versus actually reading it myself.  It could also be that this is written for the middle grades age group and I am far from that group.  I would definitely recommend it for younger girls so they can see that girls can do what they need to do to survive a challenging situation. It is a girl empowerment book in that way.

Purchase Links 
Amazon US
Amazon UK

#Diverseathon2021: Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen (Brian’s Saga #5)

Brian’s Hunt
Series: Brian’s Saga #5
Author: Gary Paulsen

Narrator: Ron Mclarty
Published: January 1, 2003
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 18-19, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return know that Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization.

When Brian finds a dog one night, a dog that is wounded and whimpering, he senses danger. The dog is badly hurt, and as Brian cares for it, he worries about his Cree friends who live north of his camp. His instincts tell him to head north, quickly. With his new companion at his side, and with a terrible, growing sense of unease, he sets out to learn what happened. He sets out on the hunt.

Jessica’s Review:

As a part of May’s prompt for #Diverseathon2021 I listened to the Brian’s Saga series by Gary Paulsen and I have finally reached the last in the series: Brian’s Hunt.

Brian’s Hunt seems to pick up where Brian’s Return left off. This time Brian has a friend with him: He finds a severely injured dog that he takes care of. He begins to worry over the Cree Indian family who he has become friends with. In the ‘what if’ novel Brian’s Winter Brian comes across this family and they ‘rescue’ him and take care of him for several weeks before being able to go home.   I still have confusion on if Brian’s Winter is actually not a what if scenario and did actually happen since the next books reference things that happen in that novel. 

This is a bit of spoiler, but this novel will not be for the sensitive or younger readers as to what happens to the Cree family.  They meet their untimely fate at the hands of a bear and the novel is descriptive in how Brian finds the family.  Because of this Brian becomes determined to find the bear and he goes on his hunt.

I did enjoy listening to this series. I do recommend it for teenage boys, as our protagonist is a boy and we don’t get many of those in middle grade/ YA novels.  Those novels tend to have female leads. I did not know it was a series until I decided I was going to read Hatchet for Diverseathon, and seeing they were all of a shorter length, I decided to ‘go all out’ and listen to the whole series as all were available through the Libby App. The only thing I was not a ‘fan’ of was the music added to try and enhance the suspenseful parts.  I can see how the music would work for some but not others such as myself since I listen to these books while driving and the music was distracting at times.

The Brian’s Saga is recommended!

***
For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

Beccie over at Bookies is having a giveaway for the month of May: She is giving away a copy of Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs (it is set in Canada). You can also enter this giveaway by entering through the Grand Prize link above.
***

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]

#Diverseathon2021: Brian’s Return by Gary Paulsen (Brian’s Saga #4)

Brian’s Return
Series: Brian’s Saga #4
Author: Gary Paulsen

Narrator: Peter Coyote
Published: September 11, 1992
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 16-18, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

As millions of readers of Hatchet, The River, and Brian’s Winter know, Brian Robeson survived alone in the wilderness by finding solutions to extraordinary challenges. But now that he’s back in civilization, he can’t find a way to make sense of high school life. He feels disconnected, more isolated than he did alone in the North. The only answer is to return-to “go back in”-for only in the wilderness can Brian discover his true path in life, and where he belongs.

Jessica’s Review: 

As a part of May’s prompt for #Diverseathon2021 I am continuing the Brian’s Saga series by Gary Paulsen.  In Brian’s Return, Brian realizes he cannot live the way he used to.  Provoked by another student over a girl, Brian severely beats another boy, but in Brian’s mind he was being attacked and he was defending himself.  After talking with a counselor, Brian decides to return to the Canadian wilderness, though more prepared (a tent and some more items) than when he crash landed. Brian is more at home in the wilderness and yes he faces the perils of outdoor living again.  But at the end he is at home and peace in the wilderness. 

I don’t know what it was about Brian’s Return, but it just wasn’t really for me once he got back into the wild,  Maybe it was a ‘been there, done that’ scenario since I listened to the other three novels back to back.  Brian’s Return was meant to be the final book in the series and you can tell by the ending of the book as there is a conclusion.  But there was so much reader feedback that Paulsen wrote one more book: Brian’s Hunt.   

At times while listening to the audiobook I was confused because Paulsen kept referencing Brian surviving in the winter, but that book was a ‘what if’ scenario and not what actually happened to Brian as he was rescued before winter came in Hatchet. 

Peter Coyote was back as the narrator for the audiobook version;  I was happy about that as he definitely has that story telling voice.

***
For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

Beccie over at Bookies is having a giveaway for the month of May: She is giving away a copy of Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs (it is set in Canada). You can also enter this giveaway by entering through the Grand Prize link above.
***

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]