Thirteen-year-old Adam feels compelled to uncover the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, even if it means facing a monster.
An accident on a forested Florida road late at night leaves Adam in the hospital and his parents missing. Adam saw what his father swerved to avoid but can’t believe it: a massive, manlike beast. He tells the police, which leads to a newspaper article, but the official search for his parents is fruitless. Still, Adam can’t stop thinking about both accident and beast. Taken in by his uncle, Adam’s suspended from his new school on his first day for fighting about the newspaper article. He finds reports online of other sightings, one fairly close by, and hikes overnight to learn more from the man who spied it. The man’s intensity scares Adam off, but Adam’s a hunter and comfortable in the outdoors, so he equips himself and heads into the wilderness to find answers. After a harrowing trek and near starvation, Adam discovers the terrifying truth behind the legends. Readers will identify with Everykid Adam, who finds he can’t trust what he’s always been told about the world. Walking a fine line between the fantastic and the realistic, Key creates a scary, page-turning adventure spun from his own experience (set forth in an author’s note). Characters are assumed white.
This compelling cryptid fantasy has its big feet planted firmly in realistic survival fiction. (Fantasy. 8-14)