Author: Tristan Bancks
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (November 17, 2015)
Description: When a twelve-year-old boy's parents discover millions of dollars deposited into their bank account, they take him and his sister on the lam in this fast-paced middle-grade adventure.
Ben has always wanted to be a cop, so he's intrigued when police officers show up at the door, asking for his parents. Then his parents arrive after the police leave and rush him and his sister into the car, insisting they are going on a vacation. Ben's a little skeptical—his family doesn't go on vacations. After they lose the police in a high-speed car chase and end up in a remote cabin deep in the woods, Ben discovers his parents' secret: millions of dollars were deposited into their bank account by accident, and they took the money and ran off. Ben isn't sure what to think. Are his parents criminals? And because he ran off with them, is he a criminal, too?
My Thoughts: Twelve-year-old Ben tells the story of the time his parents packed him and his sister into an old car and took off for an isolated cabin in the woods. They say that the family is going on vacation but this doesn't seem like it is much fun. Their dad and mom argue at night when the kids are trying to sleep in the derelict cabin.
Ben is a kid who spends most of his time playing video games and making stop-motion movies. He tells stories about zombies and his police detective alter ego Ben Silver. Ben listens to his parents and starts gathering clues. He starts to think that his parents have done something bad and are running from the police. When the police surround the cabin, Ben and his little sister Olive take off into the woods with a bag of money, almost a million dollars. They spend a couple of scary days in the wilderness without food or water before they find their way back to the cabin. From there they hitchhike and take buses back to their grandmother's house.
Along the way, Ben spends a lot of time deciding if he is doing the right thing. He's torn between loyalty to his parents and his respect for the law. The experience changes Ben and his family.
Fans of adventure stories will be interested in Ben's journey. I enjoyed that the kids found and read a battered copy of MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George and used the main character's journey as inspiration for their journey.
Ben let out a breath and bit his bottom lip. Sometimes he wished that his imagination wasn't quite so good. He could never walk down a dark hallway or put out the garbage or stay home by himself without thinking scary thoughts.I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.