by Gary Paulsen
Hatchet may well have converted more boys to readers than any other novel. This survival tale features a 13-year-old boy marooned in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash when he is on his way to visit his father who is getting a divorce from his mother. Teenage Brian Robeson carries with him The Secret that even his father doesn’t know—and that his mother doesn’t know Brian knows—about why they’re getting divorced: While Brian was bike-riding with his friend, he saw his mother with another man. But now, having survived this plane crash in a Cessna 406, Brian must concentrate all of his energies on survival. He has only a thin ripped windbreaker and the hatchet that his mother gave him, a gift to aid him on his visit to his father, a mechanical engineer working in the oil fields of Canada, on the tree line where the tundra meets the forest. Brian must build shelter for himself in these North woods, and find food while learning to live among bear and porcupine, wolves, skunk and moose.