For this week’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday I’m looking at a classic survival story, HATCHET by Gary Paulsen. This is one I didn’t read as a child. This Newbery Honor book was published in 1987. when I was already an adult and I didn’t read it until well into the 21st Century, when I was practically ANCIENT. That said, for a realistic novel this one is kind of tailor made for me. I love survival stories. I read one in a single sitting at my high school library one day called PILOT DOWN PRESUMED DEAD which I also remember loving. I also have vague memories of doing LOST IN THE BARRENS at school, which, of course, sucked all the enjoyment out of it. But I’m sure that’s a great book too.
Survival stories are definitely appealing to me. What I love about HATCHET is that, being a bit more modern, it doesn’t sugar coat the whole experience. It’s frightening and revolting and the kid very nearly dies, and worse, very nearly loses his will to live. In a way, HATCHET sets the stage for things like THE HUNGER GAMES and THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO in the sense that the idea of a kid out on his or her own in the wilds is given the horrifying treatment it warrants.
HATCHET is a shortish book, just over 46,000 words, and has a reading level of about grade five. It’s a SUPERB book for boys. I have never met a boy reader who didn’t love it , in fact, but might also appeal to a reader who enjoys the historical deprivations and ingenuity of the Little House or Green Gables books. Followed by half a dozen sequels, none of which I’ve read, HATCHET deserved its Newbery honor, and I would recommend it to any young reader aged 8+.
For this week’s I can’t wait to read, I’m going to go with THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It’s the first in a new trilogy, which is JUST what I need (not) but what the heck, it sounds cool.
For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts check out these blogs:
- Joanne Fritz @ My Brain on Books
- Ben Langhinrchs @ My Comfy Chair
- Sherrie Petersen @ Write About Now
- Brooke Favero @ Somewhere in the Middle
- Myrna Foster @ Night Writer
- Ally Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy
- Barbara Watson @ Novel and Nouveau
- Deb Marshall @ Just Deb!
- Anita Laydon Miller’s Middle Grade Blog
- Michael G-G @ Middle Grade Mafioso
- Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles
- Ms. Yingling @ Ms. Yingling Reads
- Jennifer Rumberger
- Pam Torres @ So I’m Fifty
- Mary @ Writer’s Butt Does Not Apply to Me
- The Accidental Novelist