WHEN WE WERE LOST by Kevin Wignall


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A group of students survive a catastrophic plane crash only to be stranded deep in the Amazon.

Seventeen-year-old Tom Calloway, who is not much of a joiner, is on his way to Costa Rica for a two-week field trip at his guardian’s insistence. To their horror, after violent turbulence turns out to be the plane shearing in half as it crashes, only Tom and 18 other students survive out of all the passengers. Now comes the hard part: Having flown for several extra hours on a different course in what seems to be an intentional pilot deviation from the route, the teens are now isolated in the sweltering jungle with little hope of rescue. To survive the heat and predators, the group will have to rely on their skills and each other—easier said than done when insecurities and stubbornness become lethal. Wignall (Blood, 2018, etc.) doesn’t quite deliver on a promising concept here. The tried-and-true tropes of survival narratives along with empowering teen expertise are featured well; questions and consequences of leadership vs. collaboration play out effectively if a little ham-handedly. Things fall apart with the clumsier contrivances, like the recycling of Final Destination plot points, the utter lack of development around the characters’ experience of trauma that crashes just about any suspension of disbelief, and some action-over-quality scenes. South American drug runners and a single black student are the extent of diversity among the cast.

Marginal. (Adventure. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 4th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-316-41779-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2019


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