We watch helplessly as the jeep burns. Flames leap from the driver’s window and lick at the door frame, red tongues reaching into the black smoke. A wall of heat pushes toward us…
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.
(Young Adult fiction in the Orca Soundings series)
Listen to Nikki Tate-Stratton discussing the book on CBC radio!
“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.” (Resource Links, February 2011)
“Compliments to Stevenson who has succeeded in giving readers a vivid picture of these people and this place… a successful, fast-paced adventure story. (Canadian Materials, January 2011)
“The action is non-stop. This fast-paced story gives enough descriptive detail to give the reader a real feel for the scenery and to understand the desperation felt by Jayden and Nat. Reluctant readers will gobble it up… This will be a sure hit with upper middle school and high school students. Rating: Excellent.” (Tri-State Young Adult Book Review Committee, Sept. 2011)