Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 136
Themes: survival, responsibility, family
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/03/2011
Lexile Level: HL590L
Fry Reading Level: 3.0
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Since his girlfriend dumped him, Jayden has been avoiding school-and life in general. When his eccentric uncle Mel invites him to help with his biology research at an Australian university, he figures he has nothing to lose. Once he arrives, he discovers Mel is obsessed with finding a new species of lizard and is determined to be the first to discover it. Unfortunately, this means an expedition into the scorching desert heat of the Australian outback...with the increasingly paranoid Mel and an unfriendly biology student named Natalie. Then disaster strikes, and Jayden and Nat find themselves many miles from civilization fighting for their survival.

Also available in Spanish.

Tri-State YA Book Review Committee - September 1, 2011
"This fast-paced story gives enough descriptive detail to the give the reader a real feel for the scenery…Reluctant readers will gobble it up."
The Horn Book Guide - September 1, 2011
"There's...drama and excitement [in this] survival tale."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media - May 1, 2011
"Though short and straightforwardly told, the characters and plot are engaging and it should be a hit with the Hi/Low audience."
Resource Links - February 1, 2011
"Well-written and intriguing, I read Outback in one sitting. The characters are very well-developed for such a short novel, and I found myself rooting for them at every turn...A fast-paced and enjoyable read for all, but I would definitely recommend this novel for reluctant readers or low level readers."
CM Magazine - January 21, 2011
"Compliments to Stevenson who has succeeded in giving readers a vivid picture...A successful, fast-paced adventure story. Recommended."

Awards

TriState YA Review Group Book of Note  | 2012 | Commended
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year  | 2012 | Commended
CCBC Best Books  | 2012 | Commended

Resources:

Download teachers’ guide


Ebooks available from the following retailers:


Teen fiction
for reluctant readers

Key Features:

Short, high-interest novels

Contemporary stories

Compelling characters

Linear plots

Teaching Resources:

Free Teachers' Guides

Accelerated Reader
Lexile levels

Bindings:

Paperback $9.95

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