Stranded by Melinda Braun
Reviewed by Dysen
In my opinion, even though I am not an avid reader, Stranded was an enjoyable book. This adventure story, a first person narrative of the protagonist Emma, begins with the tragic death of a character unknown to the reader. The rising action occurs as Emma, who is struggling with PTSD, decides to embark on a camping trip, with her parent’s permission, to explore nature and escape her depressed life. The “normal” trip turns deadly when two of the six campers, along with the group leader, are killed by a violent windstorm on the second day. Emma and the other 3 campers (Chloe, Oscar and Isaac) are all alone in the dangerous woods, near Lake Superior, with vicious wolves and no maps or compasses to assist them. If the four teens want to be saved they will have to work together and survive 13 days in the wild. Emma embarks on a journey that will test her limits, evoke displays of courage and leadership and teach her the meaning of life.
One of my favorite parts in Stranded are when the 2 campers and the guide die, because that is the first conflict in the story which vamps up the book’s excitement into high gear. A subsequent interesting twist is when Isaac and Oscar (foes) get into a fight and almost fall off a cliff, but the girls tie bras and other clothes together to a tree to pull them up from the edge. I enjoyed this part because it shows that Isaac, the selfish, crude, arrogant camper isn’t completely heartless when he grabs onto Oscar’s hand to save him from certain death. This revelation, contrary to his negative personality and dark attitude shows Isaac’s character has grown tremendously.
Overall, the plot was captivating and unpredictable, the characters and their interaction were humorous and emotionally impactful.
However, I didn’t like that the author spent 50 pages, after an exciting introduction, before the adventure truly became engaging. Despite the initial, very vivid anecdote of an unknown character drowning, the introduction of the characters was really long and lackluster. In conclusion, I recommend this novel to teens because other than the introduction, Stranded is a very enticing novel to read.