When thirteen-year-old friends, Alex and Josh are stranded on a desolate mountain mesa, with Josh’s eight-year-old brother Mickey and Alex’s seriously injured pilot father, following a plane crash, the young people’s survival skills and maturity is severely put to the test. Where they have crashed, in the middle of winter, just one day prior to Christmas, is a lonely, desolate, freezing cold and dangerous place. Not only do the young ones have to figure out how to find food and water, they also have to build a fire to keep warm and to care for Alex’s veterinarian father, who is slipping in and out of consciousness. To add to their travails, throw in a hungry puma and a mysterious, ghost-like remnant of the past inhabitants of this corner of New Mexico, the long disappeared, indigenous Anasazi tribe, and you have the makings of an excellent adventure, full of danger and excitement. This is what author George Goldthwaite has presented his readers with, in Survival on Mystery Mesa: Eagle Mountain Adventures (Book 1).
The number one thing I loved about this story was that although it was written with the target audience of middle-school children, the writing and the story are just as enjoyable for a reader, like me, who is about as far away from middle-school age as one can get. The three youngsters who are the heroes of this story are compelling, believable and totally normal kids that one would meet every day. They possess nothing particularly special, but George Goldthwaite shows through them, that when placed under extreme pressure, even the most average of us is able to rise to the occasion and perform above and beyond what we may have expected of ourselves. As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and the perils the young people faced and attempted to overcome. Especially poignant for me was the way they handled the aftermath of their adventure, when faced somewhat with scepticism and condescension. Survival on Mystery Mesa: Eagle Mountain Adventures (Book 1) is a wonderful story for middle-school children to read, but applicable to all ages and readers who enjoy a good, clean adventure. As the first book in a series, I say, bring on the next one.