Mikaelsen, Ben Jungle of Bones, 224 pgs. Scholastic, 2014. $16.99. Language: PG ( 6 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG13. (graphic war descriptions)
Dylan Barstow is an angry young man. His father was killed on the other side of the world (a journalist covering human rights issues) and Dylan seems to deal with that loss by showing disrespect for everything, getting in trouble and taking no responsibility for his actions. After a late night joyride lands 14-year-old Dylan in jail, his mother decides to do something drastic. She calls Uncle Todd, who agrees to take Dylan with him for the rest of the summer. Todd is going to Papua New Guinea to search for the crashed WWII plane of which Todd's father (Dylan’s grandfather) was the only survivor. But Dylan won’t follow instructions, won’t take malaria pills, won’t cooperate. Of course he gets separated from the group in the middle of the jungle and faces death on his own.
An exciting read, middle school boys who loved Touching Spirit Bear will also gravitate to this one (pretty much the same story - different challenges, different location). The WWII history is a nice plus. While Dylan was making me pretty frustrated with his bad attitude all the time, lots of our reluctant teen readers will identify with him and will finish this.
MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian