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Summary: For all that goes into protecting the President of the United States, no one anticipated that an earthquake in Missouri would impact Camp David! What was supposed to be a weekend building a robot turned into a race against time. Tremors and dry conditions don't mix. Nearby wildfires are spreading quickly, trapping Luke (the President's 12-year-old son), his best friend Theo, Callie (a 'former' friend) inside the secure compound, and his Secret Service agents inside the compound. Secret Service agents are trapped in damaged buildings, the heat is growing more intense, and the fire has jumped the fence. How can they possibly survive? Time stamps for each chapter add to the tension in this action-thriller for preteens.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and Up
Reading Level: 4.5
Age of Child: Read by and with a 10 year old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: My daughter read this in 5th grade and pulled it from the shelf to read again in 7th grade. She loved the suspense and pace of the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: A bit unrealistic, but a thrilling ride. Luke, Callie, and Theo are well-developed characters, though I have to admit I didn't like Callie much at first. The story left me curious to learn more about Camp David and the rules (are kittens really forbidden?). Wildfire Run is a book I'd recommend for readers who like action-packed stories. The author does an exceptional job helping the reader visualize events and scenes so that it plays out like a movie in your mind.
Pros: Nonstop action keeps readers on the edge of their seat waiting. The story has lots of visual detail that can help readers who need or prefer being able to "see" the story as they read.
Cons: Given the plot, there is some violence and one of Luke's Secret Service agents dies.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. As we discovered, our reader loved it enough to come back to it three years later!
Educational Themes: This is a story for casual reading. In a book club setting, readers could explore the various relationships: father and son, friends, and even adults and their charges.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.