By S.A. Bodeen
Expected publication July 29, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Sarah does not approve of her father's new marriage. The two of them have gotten along just fine for years. Why does he have to ruin it with a new wife? Especially one that brings two sons! Unfortunately, Sarah really doesn't get much say in the matter and before she knows it, the whole new family is off on an exotic boat trip together. But when rough weather hits, they must find a way to get along if they want to survive.
I think this is Bodeen's middle-grade debut; she has written a few successful YA novels that I've been meaning to check out. When this book came across my desk at work, I figured I'd give it a read before adding it to our giveaway books.
It's a really quick read - less than 200 pages - which is good for keeping kids interested. It's got short chapters and the adventure/survival angle is a real hook for kids who claim they don't like reading. However, I didn't really enjoy this. Sarah is an exceedingly annoying character (unfortunate - she is giving Sarahs a bad name!) and many pieces of the story just didn't work for me. That her father would book this cruise without checking reviews or getting more information just seemed like a plot convenience.
Perhaps my greatest frustration with this book is that nowhere in or on the book does it say it's book one of a series. In fact, Goodreads (where I keep track of all my books) doesn't even say it's a series, and Goodreads usually knows these things (often even before I do). It became clear to me as I read that I wasn't going to get all the answers in the limited number of pages I had left. How hard would it have been to just mention it somewhere on the back cover? So, I have no idea where Sarah and her family have shipwrecked and what it will mean for them. I'm so frustrated with this ending (which isn't even a cliffhanger; it just ends) that I don't think I'll be picking up the next book. Obviously, I can see the appeal this book will have with young readers, but it just irritated me.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.