Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Summary: When Julie’s father starts feeling ill on board his boat, it’s up to 12-year-old Julie to take their obnoxious clients, Hank Jordan and his son Shane, for their dive. As soon as they descend, Julie senses problems. When the time is up, Hank and Shane refuse to resurface, and Julie discovers the anchor has come loose. Reaching the surface, she is horrified to find the boat gone. She eventually reunites with the Jordans, but their oxygen tanks have malfunctioned, and Hank has the bends. The suspense builds as the three drift deeper and deeper out to sea. Flashback scenes reveal family problems Julie has been dealing with for the last few years as well as how she and her father came to be out on the boat that day. An author’s note tells about his own nearly catastrophic diving experience that gave him the idea for this book. 272 pages; grade 4-8.
Pros: After a slightly slow start, the pace really picks up, and readers will be chewing on their nails as the castaways struggle to survive. Perfect for fans of Hatchet or the I Survived series.
Cons: Julie seemed almost unrealistically resourceful and level-headed for a 12 year old. Also, there’s a somewhat disturbing scene involving sharks and Hank Jordan; fortunately, you will dislike him so much by that point in the story that you may rejoice in his misfortune.