Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review: Solitaire

by Bernard Ashley
ISBN: 978-0-7945-3031-0
Age 12+, 338 pages

From the back of the book:
A boy. Lost. Alone. Shipwrecked on an island called Solitaire. He doesn't know who he is, how he got there or where he's from. All that matters is survival.

A man. Rich. Powerful. Convinced his grandson is still alive. He has the influence and determination to find and rescue him. His search will bring him to Solitaire.

Haunting memories and hidden truths expose a silent betrayal in this thrilling story of loyalty and deception, war and peace, from master storyteller Bernard Ashley.

Read an Excerpt

My thoughts:
This is one of the best teen thrillers I've ever read. The writing isn't "dumbed down" and it's not written "just for kids". Bernard Ashley's writing reminds me much of some of the most popular mystery writers today. His writing isn't quite as smooth as Iris Johanson or Brock and Bodie Thoene but the level of detail and the research involved was wonderful and very easy to follow. 

Bernard Ashley takes a situation that could really happen (and possibly has) and tells it from the kid's point of view. Pax, a 15 year old boy, stranded on an island with total Amnesia. He remembers nothing about life before the island. Mike is a grandfather who has lost his entire family to a tragic war crime that sinks a cruise ship attempting to rescue war victims in a Africa Civil War. Not believing that his grandson is dead he launches a search for his grandson and when a report comes of a blond boy hiding on an island he hires a boat captain to take him to the island after he's forbidden to fly there. It turns out that Pax isn't who Mike hoped he'd be and from there follows a rescue, a search for Pax and his identity, a huge surprise ending (that I actually figured out a few chapters before it was revealed).

I encourage you to leave this book lying around. Your kids 13+ will definitely pick it up and I'm sure you'll find them reading it when they have a spare moment. It's fast paced, attention grabbing action is enjoyable. All the little details are completed by the end of the book and to be honest I'd love to see a sequel.

I saw a few other books of Bernard Ashley's that I intend to find that were listed on his website. You can check out the details of just a few of the over 20 books that he has had published. All seem to be fast paced thrillers for teens and adults and I noticed he also has a few picture books for kids. Check out his website here.  No Way to Go and Ronnie's War both look very interesting to me.

About the author:
Bernard AshleyBernard Ashley's first book was published in the 70's and he focuses on situations from around the world and events that teens are part of such as Civil War, Child Soldiers, War Crimes, Family Issues (death, abandonment, murder, gang warfare, etc). He taught school for over 30 years before he retired to write full time. You can learn more here.
If you'd like to purchase this Awesome New Book from Usborne Books. It was recently released and is available now. Click here.

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