Sunday, 15 May 2016

Chasing Danger by Sara Grant

This book is fast-paced from the start. The opening scene has fourteen-year-old Chase Armstrong shouting “Don’t leave me here.” Sara Grant then gives us a desolate setting.  We can be fooled into thinking the modern pirates mentioned in the blurb have arrived already. But not quite yet. When they do arrive, there’s more to them than the same blurb suggests.
Grant does well to maintain the tension and the pace. The situation with the pirates is bad enough but Chase also has to contend with a mysterious background. Who exactly was her mother? Will Ariadne even be a true grandmother?
Both the emotional and the action stakes are high. Grant maintains a firm narrative balance which achieves fast pace and emotional closeness at the same time. Her characters are extremely clearly drawn. This is also a real page turner. Nicely short chapters also add to the attractiveness. It’s so easy to read just one more chapter.
Who is the book for?  Well, Chase is fourteen, so presumably twelve-year-olds would like to read about her. Later primary, early secondary? Chase feels a little more mature than the Famous Five or characters from the Nancy Drew mysteries. Yet the adventure is similar and at the same time of a higher concept than these. The cover firmly suggests Chase is a teenager who cares about her appearance.    
No matter. I’m a lot older than any of them and I’m looking forward to the next one.