Jennie soon finds the Desert Colony, a group of strong believers in God. They live simple lives, without “corrupting influences” like TVs, computers, telephones, cars, and many other modern technologies. They do have a small airstrip for transporting needed goods and for exports—herbs that they grow. They mainly travel by horseback. She meets Eric, a young member of the Colony and he offers to help her. They send out people to search for Jennie’s grandmother, but they return empty-handed. They tell Jennie not to worry, as they will be searching again later. They give Jennie a place to stay, and new clothes and food in the meantime. Although Jennie is grateful, she notices something unusual about the food—specifically, the drink. They brew a juice that taste quite nice, but why does Jennie either fall a sleep or feels incredibly calm after every cup she drinks? What is in the drink? Surely it can’t be just the herbs and fruits that the makers claim they use!
Donovan, the leader of the Desert Colony informs Jennie that he has informed the sheriff of her predicament, and that they are trying to contact her parents, who are also on vacation. Jennie is now friends with Eric, who is also worried about Jennie’s grandmother. But as time passes, there is still no word of either Gram or her parents, Jennie’s suspicions begin to rise. Has Donovan really contacted the authorities? Or is he trying to prevent her from leaving? Are these apparently well wishing, God trusting people hiding something? Are they truly what they seem?
Something even more mysterious has happened in the meantime—the plane wreckage has completely disappeared, and Eric’s family as gone missing! Could these occurrences be related? Jennie is exposed to some interesting hidden tunnels beneath the compound—can she figure out where the lead and use them? Jennie and Eric are out to investigate!
When people that wish to help them fall mysteriously ill or become unable to help, Jennie knows something is definitely wrong—but what can she do? Can she figure out who to trust, in this web of deception? Can she even trust Eric? Or is she on her own? Will Jennie ever get out the Colony?
Fans of mystery books will enjoy this suspenseful novel! Packed with investigations, twists and turns, Stranded will be enjoyed by fans of other books of this series. This book was quite predictable at points and the ending seemed a little rushed and a bit coincidental at a point or two. But other than that, those who enjoyed the Nancy Drew books may also like this modern mystery!