Ali Kensington, 12, worships her father, star of Survivor Guy, a reality show à la Man vs. Wild.
Ali is looking forward to going on location with her dad, whom she rarely sees because of his production schedule. Her excitement is marred by one small problem: Ali has been lying to everyone about her nonexistent survival skills; all she’s done is read a lot of books. She’s sure she’s going to blow it on camera for the whole world to see. And her hero worship deflates upon discovering it’s not just her dad, a camera, and miles of unforgiving wilderness, as she and his fans have been led to believe: There’s a Hollywood-style set, complete with stunt doubles, fancy campers, and doughnuts for breakfast. Then an honest-to-gosh life-threatening situation arises when a wildfire breaks out, forcing Ali to call on her inner Survivor Girl. Ali’s emotional growth is the main focus of the story. Her anger and misery are believable as she questions both the lies she’s been told and the lies she’s told and as she faces up to the lies she’s told the most important person of all: herself. She’ll have to accept her limitations, embrace her abilities, and discover a bravery she didn’t know she had. Characters are assumed white.
A strong story that shows survival is more than just getting through physical challenges. (Fiction. 9-14)