A catalogue of all the things that can go wrong when a 16-year-old sneaks off to a Metallica concert, all served up in Gilstrap’s inimitable breakneck style.
Since his parents split up, Scott O’Toole’s spent most of his time in D.C. with his father Brandon. So his mother, bestselling pop psychologist Sherry Carrigan O’Toole, wants to make his one week with her at Utah’s SkyTop Village—a week when the president himself is on hand to visit his hometown—into teen heaven: nonstop skiing (even though she doesn’t ski) with minimal supervision. Her plan works so well that Scott’s soon flying to Salt Lake in his new pal Cody Jamieson’s little Cessna. But since Cody’s flying into a snowstorm with no instruments, no radio, and a 21-year-old amateur’s experience, the plane drifts off course and comes down in a tree, killing Cody and leaving Scott at the mercy of cold, hunger, and wolves. Apart from his blue hair and his fondness for heavy metal, Scott’s a resourceful kid, considerably more mature than his money-hungry mother, and he’s benefited from some survival training he took with his dad. He’ll need every ounce of energy, grit, and ingenuity he can muster to survive in the snowy mountains while rescue crews, mustered from a scant police force whose first priority is protecting the president, search the wrong places again and again. After three days without food and water, Scott finally stumbles upon human habitation. If only the human involved weren’t the most dangerous man in Utah—one whose involvement with Scott, no longer at risk of starvation or hypothermia, will lower the danger while paradoxically increasing the suspense.
With one shameless eye on your blood pressure and another on Hollywood, Gilstrap (Even Steven, 2000, etc.) runs roughshod over publicity-hound agents, rule-bound justice-system bureaucrats, and absentee parents in a headlong rush to wring every possible thrill out of Scott’s week with his mom.