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Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits

Seventh-grader Jack Mathias is an adventurer at heart. Mercilessly pranking all those around him and always eager to find the next mountain to climb, life is full of endless possibilities. But when a harsh reality check enters Jack’s carefree world, he and his best friend Gene seek to find a way to enjoy the last few days of freedom before the dreaded Summer School begins. After discovering a mysterious message from the olden days of Boonetown, the two boys and their friend Edgar embark on a dangerous journey. With high hopes of finding a life-changing secret, the Boonetown Bandits begin an adventure like no other, with endless twists and turns along the way.

Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits by G.M. Savage is a high-stakes adventure story with plenty of action to go around. Each step of the boys’ journey is fraught with peril, as unexpected dangers lurk around every corner. The characters are real and memorable, growing and developing their friendship as the quest continues. Jack, the lovable rogue; Gene, the scholar; and Edgar, the gentle giant, all learn more about each other and themselves as they travel into the wilds near the raging Gauley River.

This action story is engaging and has a lot of positive energy. The author perfectly portrays the mind and behavior of middle school kids making this a relatable read for young readers. This thrilling read about Jack’s journey involves many adventures, from camping in the wild to whitewater rafting on rapids allowing young readers to dare to be adventurous. I found myself daydreaming of these adventures as I was reading.

A good romp about friendship and the joy of the journey, Jack Mathias and the Boonetown Bandits is a middle-grade action adventure novel that will entertain preteens and teens alike. This is an exciting story about three friends and their quest for hidden secrets; this captivating narrative is perfect for a lazy afternoon of reading fun.

Pages: 203 | ASIN : B0BCM56KBV

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Hold Fast

Joseph Carlo agrees to join his younger cousin on a daring late-night expedition, but he has no inkling of the life-changing consequences it will bring. It is 1761. Italy. The boys are members of a sea-fearing family with a respectable name, so when it is discovered that they took an unthinkable risk, their uncle Honore has no choice. They must be punished. That punishment takes the two teens down a rabbit hole of adventure and adversity, crossing leagues of water and landing halfway across the world. Who could have imagined how the fortune-teller’s words would be fulfilled? 

Hold Fast takes us way back to the 18th century, far from the comforts of home. The richly detailed descriptions of Highet and Jones evoke the world of seamen and the British Navy at war. It is not an easy world, and all the senses are engaged. There is quite a ride for the emotions, too – joy, pain, thrill, fear, anger, and stress. Here we meet historical figures and are present for recorded events. We read bits in Italian, French, and even Latin. There is so much to learn.

Hold Fast is an action novel with a cast of men – some feared, some admired, and a few loved. They impact us through the young boys Suchet and Joseph Carlo. Seeing it all through his eyes makes this novel an excellent read for teenagers. The story is inspired by real events, and readers may want to look up the Siege of Havana or the longitude watchmaker. They will learn more about the importance of physically holding fast to the mast of a sailing ship and standing firm in life’s figurative storms.

Hold Fast is a historical fiction young adult novel about the adventures of two teenagers who wind up on a British Navy ship and must learn the hard lessons of life at sea. This exciting novel gives readers a real life of the hardships of being a sailor in the 1700s. Readers will be captivated by the journey these two cousins go on and their story of survival.

Pages: 233 | ASIN : B07R5445VJ

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