These two books are slim reads, less than 200 pages each, perfect for budding independent readers who've outgrown typical chapter books like Magic Tree House but aren't quite yet ready for the intensity, plot sophistication, or sheer number of pages of a Rick Riordan imprint book, for example. They're also very high interest stories. Survival yarns capture readers, especially when they're done well, as these are.
Sam runs back to his summer camp cabin to grab his forgotten phone before evacuating with all the other kids moments before a wild fire rages through, and the bus leaves without him.
From the start, he's running from flames and smoke, encountering brief oases and finding momentary refuge until the fire catches up with him. At one point, he finds another summer camp and an abandoned decades-old Jeep, complete with cans of gasoline, and drives ahead of the flames.
He rescues a young girl, Delphy, herself on the run from the flames and a physical fitness camp in the woods. Together they encounter a pair of quad-bike riders who fan the flames and make things much worse, trying to rid the forest of outsiders buying up land and bringing in more and more people to the forests.
I won't spoil how it ends, whether they make it out alive, or what happens with the quad riders. It's a roller coaster of a ride from page 1, perfect for reluctant readers! Enjoy.
This book has a little bit more set-up than Wildfire, but not much. Five kids from a public middle school in New Hampshire come to Montana for a leadership camp to raft the Crazy River. Daniel Redmayne, Deke, Tony, Mia and silent Imani are there for barely three chapters when a dam fails in the middle of the night, and their two guides barely get the kids to safety before being swept down the river themselves.
From that point forward, the kids have to battle the river rapids, wildlife, find food and survive their own -- two of the kids turn on them, Lord of the Flies style -- to make it out alive. They'll also rescue one of their two guides.
Along the way, they learn more about each other, like how Imani is a billionaire's daughter and just wanted a "normal" middle school experience; Mia can be super bossy and judgemental; and Daniel can be a leader, when he steps up.
I won't spoil how it ends or say who makes it and who doesn't (not all of them do).