Tuesday, December 22, 2020

400 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath

  • Nika is halfway up the face of a glacier when she realizes it's melting from the inside and there's only a sheer face of ice that will fail soon, inundating the village in which her parents work for Doctors Without Borders. But, she's too far away. Can she find a way to save the village from catastrophe?
  • While on a field trip in a national park, Charith spots a man creeping around with a gun. He tells his teacher and they hastily board the bus but the man gets ahead of them and plants a bomb in the road, severing their brake line and sending them careening down the mountain with a kid at the wheel. 
  • Nancy is standing on the deck of a cruise ship when an island that shouldn't exist materializes out of the mist. Spotted by the people on shore, they are pursued and hit with missiles. But, Nancy left her dog in her cabin. Can she get down to the lower deck to save her dog without going down with the sinking ship? 

These are just a few of the short stories in 400 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath, a middle grade book that is so tense and action-packed that I would not advise limiting it to a middle grade audience. Each story plunks the reader right at the beginning of a terrifying, taut situation in which the main character has a limited amount of time to figure out how to save someone, complete a dangerous job, or just survive. 

Highly recommended - Whether you have an action-loving child, one who doesn't love reading that you're trying to tempt, or just need a book that's great for breaking a reading slump, 400 Minutes of Danger is a perfect, fast-paced and lively, often outlandish, read. It took a while for me to realize that the stories in 400 Minutes of Danger are interconnected, as the author slowly drops clues and then nicely gathers those clues and explains them in the final story. I appreciated the way he wrapped things up but I would have also been perfectly happy if the stories had no connection because they're so entertaining. 400 Minutes of Danger is a wild ride not to be missed. 

My thanks to Sterling Children's books for the review copy! 

I have one more Jack Heath book for review and I would have been perfectly thrilled if Sterling had sent me everything he's ever written. I'll keep my copy of 400 Minutes of Danger for when I'm in a reading slump as this kind of fast-paced adventure is exactly what I need sometimes to break the spell. And, I'll be reading the next Jack Heath book, soon! 

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