July 6, 2015

Book Review: Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen

Title: Jungle of Bones
Author: Ben Mikaelsen

Lost and alone in the jungle, one boy will have to let go of his assumptions and anger, or be dragged down with them.

Dylan Barstow has finally crossed the line. After getting caught on a late-night joyride in a stolen car, Dylan is shipped off to live with his ex-Marine uncle for the summer. But Uncle Todd has bigger plans for Dylan than push-ups and early-morning jogs.

Deep in the steamy jungles of Papua New Guinea, there's a WWII fighter plane named SECOND ACE that's been lost for years, a plane that Dylan's own grandfather barely escaped from with his life. In all this time, no one has ever been able to track down SECOND ACE -- but now Dylan and his uncle are going to try.

Lush and haunted, vital and deadly, these alien jungles half a world away could mean Dylan's salvation, or they could swallow him whole.

Short Version:  Quick read that reluctant readers would enjoy because it has enough action and tension to hold their attention. 

Long Version:  I read this book because my 13 year old son got it and read it in just a few days.  He said I should read it because he enjoyed it.  I also read it because I loved Ben Mikaelsen's book Touching Spirit Bear.  He visited our school several years ago, and I got to meet him, so this all led me to want to read another book by him.  

I liked this book.  It was a quick read that had a lot of tension to keep the reader hooked.  I know that's why my son read it so fast.  And I know that would hook in reluctant readers. The main character Dylan could be a bit hard to like at points.  He was rude, disrespectful and pretty self-centered.  As a mom I wanted to ground him to his room, so I completely got why his mom took the steps she did.  Thankfully I could see that under all of that was a kid that could be ok if he just got on the right track.  I liked how Dylan's behavior and attitude could show to younger readers the affects of behaving that way and why it should change.  I thought that was a good lesson!

I think one part I liked the best was Dylan seeing that he had burned a lot of bridges, and that people weren't going to just trust him quickly anymore.  I think it's very realistic to show that he was going to have to work to prove what he was saying.  So many kids think they can just change and everyone will believe them.  I like the realism shown.  

This is a book I would easily recommend to the more reluctant reader.  It would grab their attention and hold it for the duration of the story. As an adult there was a copy of things that bugged me, but they were very minor and would not bother the younger reader.


  1. Thanks for the review. My grandson might like this one.

  2. Ooh, it sounds intriguing annnnnd, since I'm up for Mg fiction any day, it sounds like a wonderful read :D Or is it YA? I couldn't tell. Lovely review <3

  3. It's MG. The main character is going into 8th grade.