It's official. How I Became a Teenage Survivalist is an Accelerated Reader AR book. It's worth 8 points! AR Quiz No. 163693.
This writer was fortunate enough to have been granted an exclusive interview with Julie L. Casey, author of the novel How I Became a Teenage Survivalist. Julie's interest in the topic of survivalism dates back to her childhood: "Even as a child, my games were always about living as they did in olden times, either as a pioneer or a Native American. As an adult, I've often daydreamed about how we would live if life was less modern, but I never thought of it in terms of a post-apocalyptic, survivalist situation until I wrote How I Became a Teenage Survivalist"(Casey). She likewise believes that children would benefit from legitimate survivalist knowledge beyond mere games:
I believe all children would benefit from knowing several of those skills, and homeschooling is a great environment to learn them. However, at my husband's small school (he's a public school science teacher), the 8th grade English class read HIBATS the last week of school, and then went on a 24-hour survivalist campout where they learned many survival skills, like making a rocket stove, foraging for a wild salad, and fishing for their supper. My husband, our homeschooled sons, and I got to go along and share our knowledge with them. It was an awesome experience. I am now working on a curriculum to go along with the book that would allow teachers, parents, librarians, book clubs, and anyone else who is interested to try some survival skills at a level that is appropriate for their situations(Casey).
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
When the power goes out on PF Day (PF for Power Failure), Bracken, the main character in How I Became A Teenage Survivalist by Julie L. Casey, realizes that he is quite lucky. He lives on a farm with his family and they have everything they need to survive: their own vegetables and animals, and a will to adapt. And adapting is something that becomes very important when you have no power - which means there is no fridge to keep things cool, no lights, no heaters, and no video games. Bracken's family will have to learn to survive - not only will they have to become even more self-sufficient than before, there's also the problem with looters who would like to help themselves to whatever they can find.
Reading How I Became A Teenage Survivalist had a number of effects on me: it entertained me, it taught me about a variety of alternative power sources, and it kept me thinking about what I would do if something like the PF day ever happened to me. That's a whole heap of things for a book to do! Usually books either entertain or teach you - but only the really good ones combine this. Julie L. Casey did a great job. The book is well written and very well researched. If you manage to keep all of the information in your head, then you'll already have a few good pointers on what to do if you ever find yourself without power for a long time. But if you only look for entertainment, the book also delivers - it's really hard to put down.
How I Became a Teenage Survivalist by Julie L. Casey advances to the quarterfinals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
Only 500 of 10,000 entries (5%) advanced to the quarterfinals (see the list here). Here is what the Amazon and Publishers Weekly Reviewers had to say about the novel:
ABNA Expert Reviewer
Bracken is a most appealing narrator. The author has provided great insights into his character--his teenaged boy's reaction to Silky's short sweater, his resentment of his brother Alex--and leavens the seriousness of his predicament with a bit of humor.
I particularly like that the author set this story on a Midwest farm. Post-apocalyptic cities have been done to death and IMO, a rural community has much more story potential in the circumstances than endless garbage piling up on city streets.
Sometimes this type of story can get tedious and depressing, but this author seems to have given Bracken a lightness of tone that promises a fresh and down to earth perspective on appalling circumstances.
This is a very good beginning to a post-apocalyptic tale. The hero/narrator has a fresh, appealing voice, and the author allows the reader to discover the parameters of his predicament along with him. This reader looks forward to his further experiences.
ABNA Expert Reviewer
The strongest part of this excerpt are the interesting twists on a semi-familiar "doomsday" scenario. It also helps that the main character is dynamic and can carry the story from the beginning.
Overall this is a very interesting twist on the "doomsday" scenario. There are dynamic characters and the writing is very successful in sounding like a teenage boy. It is a story that pulls you in and makes you want to read more.
ABNA Publishers Weekly Reviewer
In November 2012, the Midwest is hit with a solar superstorm, and 15-year-old Bracken and his family must figure out how to survive without electricity. “There are no phones, no TV, no video games, no lights to read by at night, not to mention no refrigeration, no microwave, and no cars after the gas ran out.” The story builds and is engrossing, and the situations are realistic. ... The appeal of this story is its simplicity and pacing.