Rummanah Aasi
  I enjoy reading survival fiction books where humans are up against nature. One of my favorite children's books of all time is Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. I remember being in fifth grade and riveted by watching Brian survive on his own in the wilderness. Last year, I felt like my old fifth grader self when I read and loved The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong, which combined both survival fiction as well as family drama into an emotionally powerful book. So when I came across Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby on Netgalley, I was excited to read this title, which will be available on March 1, 2011, and hoped for the best.

Description (found on Netgalley): A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah's new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren't exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive. 

Review: Lost in the River of Grass is one of those books where the description doesn't match or live up to the book's content. Readers anticipate a character driven novel where the character grows after surviving a harrowing ordeal of being lost in the animal infested Everglades, but what we get instead is a plot driven novel where we don't learn much about the characters until the very end of the book. Even when we do learn about the characters, we don't seem to care which leads us to being not wholly satisfied.
  Sarah is a new student at Glades Academy. Unlike many of her classmates, she is only able to attend the school by winning a swimming scholarship. Being from a 'working family' status makes it hard for Sarah to integrate with her classmates. She is always found in the background and seems to only get attention from her teachers. It is not until the very end of the novel is Sarah's race revealed. I thought revealing her race and economic status at the same time would have made more sense instead of the other way around. When her race is revealed, I couldn't help but think "Well, ok" which I'm sure is not what the author intended, especially when Sarah and Andy's relationship grows.
   Andy is a cute boy who lives in the Everglades and does not attend school. We get hints of his troubled family situation, but again, it is not known until the last few chapters of the story. I wish the author incorporated his background throughout the story. He is suppose to be the complete opposite of Sarah and his relationship with her is suppose to be meaningful but instead it lacks an emotional punch. While we see them work together in order to stay alive, they seem so far apart despite how physically close they are. I expected the characters open up to one another during their days of survival or at the very least some inner monologue so I could get inside the character's heads for a while.
  The scenes that describe Sarah and Andy's five day trip to reach land is quite good. Rorby knows her environment and animals. It is only during these days that the pace of the book picks up and holds our interest. The climax was predictable and solved way too easily for my taste. I had hoped there would be more discussion of Sarah and Andy's poor decision making from their parents, but nothing came out of it and it bothered me. Overall, Lost in the River of Grass had an okay plot, but its one dimensional characters left me unsatisfied. Due to the main characters' age and tone of the book, I would recommend it to reluctant readers and those of middle grade.

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some PG language in the book. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Everest by Gordon Korman, The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong
10 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:


  2. Anonymous Says:

    but great review

  3. Anonymous Says:

    this book was not as good as I thought it would be. it was horrible and don't read it! it was the worst book ever.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Great book and review!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    i amazing book, it gets better as you get farther into the book.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The book lost in the river of grass is so terrible what ... What is the word worst then terrible lets just say that every time i try reading the book I fall asleep and I can't believe that my teacher ms.nanna she's old made us read it for a book report I just can't believe it so boring and I think ill never finish the book so ill copy somone else answer anyway the book I so terrible I don't even think there a word to describe it

  7. Anonymous Says:

    This book is so good and I'm 14 years old and it had taught me a lot of things about how we need to clean up the ponds and water system so all of the people can have good water in this world

  8. Anonymous Says:


  9. Anonymous Says:

    This book is seriously so confusing ! I don't get the whole racial thing where in the end she turns out to be black. Not trying to be racist but that doesn't change the story like that makes no difference if shes white, black, purple, orange, pink. Also, when Andy leaves her ? That was probably the stupidest part ever and it mad him look like a douche. I really did not like it and i love books but this is one book i will definitely not read ever again. Sorry, but this book is really confusing and i like some parts of it like where she saves him and when they get rescued just the journey made no sense.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Love this book everyone should read it

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