Saturday, April 16, 2016

Book Review of Treasure at Lure Lake by Shari Schwarz; an adventure novel for boys 8-12

Treasure at Lure Lake
Written by  Shari L. Schwarz
Paperback  192 pages
Genre  Adventurous realistic fiction
Recommended for  Boys ages 8-12

Sometimes it can be hard to get boys to read real books. I don't know if the plethora of graphic novels targeted at boys represents the cause or effect, but they are a source of annoyance to me.
Like me, author Shari L. Schwarz is the mother of four boys. She said, "They don't just all love reading so I wanted to write an exciting adventure that they could relate to."

K, Boy age 13

I thought it was great.
Jack was my favorite character, because he was kind of the one that kept his cool, and he had the most perspective chapters. He'd rather stay where he can get cell phone reception.
I thought it was interesting that they encountered a black bear. That was the first sign of wildlife in the book.
I thought the part where Bryce came back . . . after being knocked-out after a fall from off a canyon wall was pretty cool. Apparently [someone was waiting there].

T, Boy age 11
Bryce is my favorite character, because he was more into camping.
I didn't know about the quartz and pocket-knife trick. I'll have to remember that when I'm camping. I'm going to try not to be a spoiler, so I'm just going to do thoughts on characters for now.
Like I said, Bryce is my favorite character, but Jack is interesting as well, and I agree with K: Jack would like to stay where he can get reception.
I'm not going to say what the treasure is, but the map was a little interesting, and why were those pictures hidden?
I like science-fiction and fantasy, this was realistic fiction, so it wasn't the kind I like, but it was still pretty interesting.

 What I (Mom) Thought of Treasure at Lure Lake
Now, in my opinion, what an adult thinks of a middle grade novel intended for leisure reading is superfluous (unless we're discussing appropriateness, as I'm all in favor of parental censorship).
What the target audience themselves think is what really matters, and not only am I not a 10 year old boy, but I never have been and never will be.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I did read the book, and I do have some thoughts on it.
Survival Skills: this is Schwarz's strongest point. She promises an adventure novel, and she delivers it with wild animals, fishing, rustic animal traps, fire, rock climbing without harnesses (don't worry, they get what's coming to them), a helicopter, and more. There's a little blood, vomiting and diarrhea, but here she is (graciously) sparse with words and doesn't get too graphic--just enough for you to get the idea. Electronics include a walkie-talkie, a video camera, and the older brother's cell phone which runs out of batteries.
Characters: My favorite character was Bryce, the younger brother. He's a bit of an outdoors nerd (is that a thing?). The older brother, Jack, was a bit tougher to like, with some teen angst going on, but maybe boys will relate to him. I did feel that the brothers did a good job acting their age, within their personalities. Unfortunately, I felt like the Grandpa wasn't a consistent personality. The mysterious hikers were a nice addition. Mom and Dad were referred to throughout the book, but don't show up until close to the end, but that works fine.
Point of View: the book is written from an alternating first-person point of view. Sometimes it's first-person Bryce, and sometimes it's first-person Jack. At first, I found this confusing, and would have to look back at the beginning of the chapter to identify which brother was narrating. For this reason, I would not recommend this book to boys who struggle with reading comprehension.
Also, I thought this book was a little overbearing with the emotions of the brothers, especially the older brother's. Narrating in third person might have toned that back.
Spoiler Alert: This book does include a near-death experience. The description of it, especially right at first, was really well done. This experience was not necessarily religious or anti-religious. The character gets far enough along to see his Grandmother, who tells him he needs to go back, and gives him a message for his family.
Toward the end, I wish things regarding the physical treasure were spelled-out or explained just a little bit more than they are.
Overall: I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to boys ages 8-12.

About the Author
Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE (April 12, 2016) is her debut middle grade novel which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play football, basketball, speed stacking, or wrestling. She frequently daydreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary advance copy of this book.
Also, my blog is now "monetized," so if you follow a link to Amazon and choose to purchase, I get a little percent back (this doesn't affect your purchase price, however).

1 comment:

  1. K and T, I'm honored to have had you review my book! Thank you!