The Skeleton Tree

Iain Lawrence's young adult novel follows two boys who must learn how to survive in the wilderness when their boat sinks off the coast of Alaska.

Iain Lawrence

Less than 48 hours after twelve-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they've got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank.

But the boys have to get along if they want to survive. Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn't expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue. (From Tundra Books)

From the book

When I wake in the night, I'm afraid.

I lie staring through blackness, listening for every sound from the forest. I can't see the ceiling or the walls of the cabin. I can't see Frank, and for a moment I'm sure that he's gone. But then, through the dark, comes the fluttery sound of his breathing, and I feel safe to know that he's near.

I used to be scared all the time, and nights were the worst. When the sun went down, I felt like screaming. I'm not the same anymore. I've learned many things about the forest and the sea, and many things about myself. But when I wake in the dark, I'm afraid.

Out in the forest, something is waiting. It's staying as still and silent as I am, both of us listening.

Is it the grizzly bear? I can imagine it standing huge and shaggy right beside the cabin, just the thickness of the wall away. But it might be a wolf. We've heard them singing, every night a little closer. It could be a man. Or it could even be a skeleton. I've heard them stirring in their coffins. These are things from my nightmares, and they loom in my mind in a terrifying cycle.

From The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence ©2016. Published by Tundra Books.