Part of summer is always spending plenty of time playing, but summer can be even better for children and teens if a parent can convince them to spend some of their time reading. For certain kids, this is no problem at all. (I certainly never had to be encouraged to read when I was a child!) But for others, asking a youngster to take a few minutes out of their day to read a novel can be considered by them to be a form of torture. So what can a parent do to try to help their child develop a love of reading?
A really good book is a perfect place to start. And recently I got the chance to review a new novel for tweens and teens by Sidney Gale called Unto the Breach that seemed like it just might fit the bill. The book’s plot sounded intriguing and I was thrilled when I got the chance to review it for myself.
The book tells the story of a sailing trip taken by three teenage boys and their high school teacher. From the beginning of the book, there was drama in the story due to a fierce rivalry between ordinary high-school boy Eric and his incredibly privileged rival in the sailing world, Rob. Anthony is initially somewhat discounted by the other two boys, especially since they have their own hostile interaction with one another which often absorbs all their energy. But when the sailing trip goes horribly wrong and the boys’ teacher suffers a life-threatening injury, Anthony begins to step up as a leader in his own right and prove that there is more to him than his friends or the reader could ever have guessed.
I found that the book took a while to get going initially. The first few chapters dragged a bit as Anthony and Eric learned about an upcoming class trip, made alternate plans to go sailing and arranged the details with their parents. But once the boys headed out on the water and the action started, it just didn’t stop. The rest of the book positively flew by for me and I was more enthralled with every page that I turned.
There was a lot of information about sailing in this book and for someone that knows absolutely nothing about sailing, there were definitely parts of the book that were beyond my comprehension. While I’m sure knowing about sailboats would have added a little more to the story, it wasn’t essential knowledge in order to follow the plot and enjoy the adventure.
The things I really enjoyed about this book were the development of the characters and the introduction of a medical emergency. The story takes a Lord of the Flies type of concept by introducing three boys that are little more than children to a crisis and then takes it in a completely different direction by having the boys grow emotionally and essentially become men, rather than having them collapse under the responsibilities of adulthood. The twist of performing a serious surgery on a sailboat in addition to the other challenges the boys face adds tons of interest and drama to the story and is definitely a pivotal part of the boys’ development process.
Overall, I found this book to be a great choice for summer reading, especially for tween and teen boys that might be somewhat reluctant readers. The exciting plot is sure to be helpful at keeping kids engaged and the characters are both realistic and easy to relate to. While girls would certainly enjoy the story as well, the target audience is definitely young men with a love of adventure. For a book with a summer feel, an engaging plot and believable characters, Unto the Breach by Sidney Gale is a great choice.
Buy It: Unto the Breach can be purchased in print and ebook form on Amazon.com
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