Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Today's read... Green Mountain Academy by Francis Greenslade

After the whirlwind of academy books to hit the young adult audience these last years, I'll admit that my mind immediately heads for bullying, mean girls, teachers, romance, and...well, anyone who has read even one of these knows what I mean. So, when I read the title on today's read, my thoughts did hit that direction...and then, they stopped. Mountains? Snow? The girl on the cover is, obviously, not magical. So yeah, something different! 

According to the blurb, this one is going to take academy in an original direction. Survival techniques and outdoor will-power are going to be key. 

And I'm ready to see where this will head...are you?

by Frances Greenslade
Tundra Books
Upper Middle Grade / Tween Adventure
240 pages
ages 10 to 14

A daring rescue in the middle of a snowstorm in this compelling Red Fox Road companion survival story for ages 10 to 14, for fans of Hatchet and The Skeleton Tree.

After a family trip turned disastrous when their truck broke down in the middle of an old logging road in Oregon, Francie is now back in British Columbia. People try to make things as normal as possible for her, but they don't understand that trying to be normal in your old life that's exploded is the worst feeling in the world. Luckily for Francie, the wilderness is still soothing, and an opportunity to attend the Green Mountain Academy, a tiny boarding school perched on the side of a mountain, seems perfect. It's a new start, with new friends and a chance at a new family. But when a winter storm hits, knocking out all the power, news that a small plane has gone missing unsettles Francie. Knowing that the chance of survival in the middle of a wild nighttime snowstorm diminishes over time, Francie is compelled to leave the cozy school and set out into the icy cold, swirling snowstorm . .

GOODREADS : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60013116-green-mountain-academy
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/green-mountain-academy-frances-greenslade/1140824873   
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09P9NYBYK


Well, this one wasn't what I expected. We have Francie, a thirteen-year-old girl, who has suffered quite a bit of family tragedy thanks to the earlier death of her sister, and shortly before this tale begins, the disappearance and assumed death, of her father as he sought help for them and got lost in the wilderness. So, to help her life return to 'normal', she's sent to a secluded boarding school in the mountains, where only eight students study while learning to survive the great outdoors. While Francie and her new best friend are exploring nearby caves, a odd noise roars somewhere nearby, but with a snow storm moving in, they don't have time to investigate. Just before the storm knocks the power out, the news announces the disappearance of a private plane in their area...and Francie is sure that was the noise. But nobody believes her. Plus, with the massive storm raging outside, it's not even safe to start a search party.

While this one has academy in the title and the school plays a side role in the plot as well as lays the setting, the rest of the story hangs on Francie and her past as well as the attempt to rescue the plane's passengers. There are some other side-plots weaving around a few of the other girls, which does give this depth and life, while tension and action slide in from the storm and survival end. It does create a nice balance between characters and plot, and makes for a well-rounded story.

The scenes and characters come to life thanks to well-developed descriptions and a natural flow. The mountains and outdoors hits with a richness, which draws in until one can almost smell the pines. And it's hard not to want to climb the fire-tower, sleep in front of the fireplace, or stomp through new-fallen snow right along with Francie. The academy seemed to be a wonderful place, especially since most of the girls were very likeable. There were some aspects of the academy's rules (or lack of), which surprised me, though. Francie is never really punished for breaking the few rules, which exist, and comes out without any (or very slight) consequences every time. Even her rescue attempt, while brave, goes against many important survival guidelines and common sense. For a book, which promotes and describes some helpful techniques and the love for the outdoors, I found this a little odd. But it does make for a more tense story and more excitement.

Francie has quite a few problems from her past to deal with, and the reader learns about these little-by-little as the story goes along. These come in sudden flashbacks, which not only slowly expose Francie's past but also add to her personality. Since these blend right into the story, I did find them a little confusing at times, but in general, it was a nice way to get to know Francie better. These did, however, slow down the pacing, at times, which, for an action girl like me, isn't always happily seen. But character fans will eat it up.

This is an enjoyable read, which swings toward survival fiction and reminds a bit of books like My Side of the Mountain. True outdoor tidbits are described, for those who love such things. So, it is an enjoyable read and is sure to grab the interest of many readers.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book even though Francis didn't follow all the common survival techniques. I think this type of story could appeal to middle graders.