Saturday, August 11, 2007

Survival Op



Survival Op:
The Fear in the Wilderness

by Scott Allen

(iUniverse / 0-595-42062-9 / March 2007 / 156 pages / $12.95)

Middle school coach and English teacher Scott Allen has released his first adventure novel for young adults. The Fear in the Wilderness is his first book in what he plans as a new series for teen readers. Judging from the many open-ended issues left at the conclusion of this first installment, as well as the numerous online, five-star reviews from his students, I would suppose that Scott's Survival Op series is well on its way to becoming a fave rave of the author's young fans.

The storyline is a variation on the plots of the television shows, Survivor and Lost, and the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away. With its boy-and-girl pair of lead characters, the book even flashes back to the 1980 movie, The Blue Lagoon, although the sexual innuendo of that movie has been replaced by gratuitous violence in Survival Op. Marcus and Lynn are thirteen-year-olds who have been stranded on purpose on a remote island in The Bermuda Triangle by a nasty horde of corporate, militant contractors to the U.S. government. Soon after Marcus and Lynn have been given just enough time to learn how to eat berries and sleep in a cave, the villains intend to hunt and kill the teens for sport. The plot is built around a secret, government-sponsored, survival training operation in which no one knows where the kids are except possibly an FBI operative or two and a mysterious monster who lives in the forest wilderness.

The plot and storyline of Survival Op are perfect for the age bracket at which the book is aimed, and the characters have been well chosen by the author to appeal to this audience. Scott Allen wants his students to enjoy reading, and he has provided them with an impetus to do so. The weakness of this book is its lack of adequate proofreading. (Where, oh where, have I said this before?) Survival Op is crammed to the island's edge with misapplied grammar, commas that have apparently been lost in the wilderness, and too many short, declarative sentences containing stilted dialogue. Please, Mr. Allen, spend considerably more time proofreading the next book in the Survival Op series! We don't want to have to call the Proofreading Police on you, do we?

Scott Allen has the best of intentions. Anything that encourages teenagers to unglue their eyes from the television or pry their fingers from the video game controllers is a very good thing! Teens that dare to read The Fear in the Wilderness will probably love it. The book has enough guns, knives, Snakenators and Bursting Berries per page to please even the shortest attention span. Let's show them correct spelling and grammar, shall we?

See Also: Tabitha's Authors Den Review
Lost in the Blue Lagoon (Tabitha's B&N Review)