Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

From the publisher – “A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive.”

I love Ginny Rorby books. My all-time favorite book has been Hurt Go Happy. Her newest book, Lost in the River of Grass is right up there with HGH. Lost in the River of Grass is actually based on real events that happened to her husband and his then girlfriend when they were lost in the Everglades.

Rorby writes vivid details of the scenery, flora and fauna; even the smells of the Everglades that make it all seems so real that you get lost in the reading because you are right in the middle of it all. The reader really gets the feel of the true account of nature’s kill or be killed. You feel sorry for the fish that is caught by the bird, and then you feel sorry for the bird that is caught by the alligator, and then you almost feel sorry for the alligator that is caught in the python’s mighty grip, but you think right along with the characters that it’s better that it’s not me, when just a paragraph ago you wished it wasn’t there scaring the characters and wondering if it is going to attack. It’s amazing how Rorby puts all these different emotions into her words.

Lost in the River of Grass would make a great read aloud for a classroom studying the different types of landforms. With the vivid descriptions of the scenery, students will get a feel of what the Everglades are truly like. Also great similes such as, “The gator’s whole head is inside the python’s. I can see the outline of the bulbous tip of its snout poking up through the snake’s skin like knuckles in a glove.”

One thing that did bother me through most of the book was why Sarah didn’t take more pictures. Her father jokes with her before leaving on the field trip and allowing her to borrow his 1952 Leica IIIf Red Dial camera, “…maybe this will launch your career as a National Geographic photographer.” Especially when they were watching the python attack the gator. I’m sure Sarah’s mind in the beginning was more about fear of her surroundings and just keeping her dad’s camera safe. Later on when Sarah is tired of being the scared city girl and begins to toughen up, I kept thinking she’d want to take pictures to help her recapture those moments when talking to her parents later. Maybe it’s just my sense of history that I wanted her to take more photos.

Overall, this is a great read for anyone and a must in any library collection; home, school, or public library. Ginny Rorby knows how to hook the reader in and keep them there until the very end.

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