Book review: Hold Fast — by Marshall Highet and Bird Stasz Jones

(Globe Pequot Press)
When nocturnal hijinks (and, by the way, a fantastic hair-raising start to a rollicking read) land two cousins, heirs to a merchant shipping company, in hot water, the uncle to Joseph Carlo and father to Suchet, decides a stint serving on the ship will give them the needed “encouragement” to become more serious about their futures. What seems like a successful idea to achieve just that is ambushed by unanticipated and disastrous events, the boys are forced to grow up even faster. No longer the favored members of a happy extended family, their ability to endure life on the high seas is essential to their survival. 13-year-old Joseph Carlos, may be physically stronger and better able to withstand brutal facets of their current existence, but Suchet‘s intelligence may win them the advantage after all. Based on a true story and geared to 10- to 14-year-olds, Hold Fast harkens back to true adventure stories, classics in their genre. This is a tale to be read aloud and savored, or inhaled all in one setting as I did. Please note: Marshall Highet and Bird Stasz Jones will appear at the Vermont Book Shop, Saturday, April 27, at 4 p.m., presented as part of Independent Bookstore Day.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
Tales of Adventure for the Young Adult Reader
The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
The Girl King, by Mimi Yu
The Raft, by S. A. Bodeen
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry
Ashes, by Ilsa J. Bick
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell
Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome

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