Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem

Flap copy from hardcover:
"You'd think that being the daughter of the American ambassador would be one adventure after another, right? Wrong.

Thirteen-year-old Lucy Hoffman never gets to see anything beyond the walls of the embassy compound. All she can do is read about the exotic and exciting world outside and imagine what it would be like to be a part of it.

Until she gets kidnapped.

All alone in the Ethiopian wild, Lucy must use her knowledge of African animal life along with her inventiveness, will, and courage to escape and find her way to freedom."

This book was an enjoyable read that did paint a vibrant picture of Africa and gave some hint of the challenges that face that magnificent continent. Lucy is an engaging heroine who will certainly capture the hearts of young adult readers. She narrates with a clear voice that perfectly captures the trials and petulance of an average 13-year old; sometimes she is a mini-adult and sometimes a child crying for her parents. The other characters in the book are much less faceted than Lucy, perhaps not surprisingly given that most of the narrative focuses on Lucy and her solo journey.

The weakness for me lay in the details; I was originally drawn to this book because of my experiences at overseas embassies, so I was extremely disappointed by the glaring inaccuracies related to that part of the narrative. In my opinion, it wouldn't have taken much research to get details about the Marines and embassy security correct; having so many errors in that central part of the plot undermined the story for me. I also feel there was no real resolution to the kidnapping, no sufficient explanation for the reasons behind it. The book is short, so fleshing out those details wouldn't have added much heft and would have strenghtened the story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious - have you ever read a book that portrayed life in overseas embassies really well? I like finding out how other people live. :)