Book Review: Escape Through the Wilderness by Gary Rodriguez

Escape Through the Wilderness banner

Escape Through the Wilderness 2Title: Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodriguez
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: 254
Genre: Teens/Children
Format: Paperback/Kindle

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

 When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

 A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

 Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

 When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

 Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip. 

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.


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My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Escape Through the Wilderness is full of action and drama. When four teens find themselves in the wilderness with little food and wild animals all around, they have to learn not only to get along, but to work together and rely on each other. Not only do they have a long way to hike, but they have to find food and be on constant alert for predators, especially Vexel.

Each teen has a burden to bear and as they make their way through the wilderness, they share with each other what that burden is and why they came to summer camp. By the time they make it back to civilization, they each have grown a lot and they have accomplished more than any of them had dreamed possible.

Rico is a great leader and Savi steps up as leader when it is necessary. Conner, who was a self-centered jerk at the beginning of the book, probably matures more than anyone and they are all happy to consider him a friend, which would have surprised them only a few days ago.  Jade learns that she is worth something and decides she’ll no longer let others treat her poorly.

Gary Rodriguez’s writing is easy to read and flows well. The story is nonstop action and I recommend it to anyone, child or adult.


Book Excerpt

Suddenly, they heard a loud rustling of bushes and branches snapping downriver not far from where they had set up their makeshift camp.

 “What was that?” Savi whispered anxiously. “It couldn’t be Vexel, could it?”

 “Quiet.” Rico rebuked her with a hush. He raised the tip of his nearly finished spear.

 Again, they heard more noise in the woods. This time they knew it was getting closer.


About the Author


Gary RodriguezMy name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I’m the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution.

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

 Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season. 

 As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

 Over the past few years, I’ve written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel.

 My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness


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