Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Shock Wave (Pick Your Fate #2) by Jack Heath

Shock Wave by Jack Heath is the second in the Pick Your Fate adventure series. If you're older, you may recall the Choose Your Adventure series from the 90s. Shock Wave is that type of book, in which you must keep making decisions that alter your path and leap around the book till you succeed or fail. This second installment in the series for middle graders (I have not read the first) is a wild ride . . . repeatedly. 

The reader chooses to be one of two characters, a male or a female, as someone approaches in a boat, then decides what that character will do. The person in the boat is a woman who claims to be an agent in pursuit of thugs who are about to blow up the island on which the main character is attending camp. But is she really an agent? Should the reader, in character, run for help or go with her? Once that decision is made, new circumstances lead to further decisions that lead, eventually, to the reader's fate. Will your choices lead to your death or will you save the day?

I recently read a series of interconnected short stories by Jack Heath and said at the time that I would read anything he wrote. I loved the tension and excitement in that first read by Heath, 400 Minutes of Danger. I have not changed my mind. 

Having said that, I confess that I did not manage to find every "You survived!" ending before I grew tired of flipping back and forth, although I found most and got blown up only a couple times. 

Highly recommended - Loads of fun for the adventure-minded child or adult. Jack Heath's books would be perfect for children who are convinced that reading is boring because you absolutely, utterly cannot be bored reading one of his books but I would not limit this book to middle graders. Anyone who likes something challenging and adventurous will enjoy Jack Heath's writing. His books are so full of breathless action that I think they're particularly well suited to both adventure lovers and children who've lost interest in reading and need something genuinely heart-pounding to lure them back. 

While Shock Wave does have a feeling of being geared to a middle grade to high school audience, it's just so much fun seeing how things unfold that I'm sure adults who love adventure will enjoy it without giving the language level much thought, as I did. 

Both of my children would have loved Heath's books, particularly my eldest, who was an avid reader of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. My youngest went through a phase during which he had no interest in reading (you can imagine the angst on the part of Mom the Bookfool) and I'm sure he would have also loved anything and everything by Jack Heath. Adventure and survival were among those rare attributes that finally helped lure him back to the reading world. That and 19th century literature. Go figure. 

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

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