Zebra Forest

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
1943 0
Zebra Forest
Age Range
9+
Release Date
April 09, 2013
ISBN
978-0763660413
Buy This Book
      

When eleven-year-old Annie first started lying to her social worker, she had been taught by an expert: Gran. "If you’re going to do something, make sure you do it with excellence," Gran would say. That was when Gran was feeling talkative, and not brooding for days in her room — like she did after telling Annie and her little brother, Rew, the one thing they know about their father: that he was killed in a fight with an angry man who was sent away. Annie tells stories, too, as she and Rew laze under the birches and oaks of Zebra Forest — stories about their father the pirate, or pilot, or secret agent. 

But then something shocking happens to unravel all their stories: a rattling at the back door, an escapee from the prison holding them hostage in their own home, four lives that will never be the same. 

Driven by suspense and psychological intrigue, "Zebra Forest" deftly portrays an unfolding standoff of truth against family secrets — and offers an affecting look at two resourceful, imaginative kids as they react and adapt to the hand they’ve been dealt.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Takes Your Attention Hostage
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Who knew that a hostage situation could be described as endearing and sweet? I sure didn’t, until I read Adina Rishe Gewirtz’s “Zebra Forest.”

“Zebra Forest” follows eleven-year-old Annie and her younger brother, Rew, as they make it through a scorchingly hot summer in a sleepy town. Their summer vacation becomes anything but sleepy as nearly fifty felons in a nearby prison escape, and one of them decides to hideout in Annie and Rew’s home. A hostage situation ensues that lasts for over a month and is filled with anxiety, screaming fights, and family drama.

Gewirtz has found that sweet spot that blends tension-filled action and a strong literary voice. Gewirtz’s protagonist Annie may not be the most book smart girl in the world, but she seems to be wise beyond her years. Rather than let herself panic after being held hostage, she takes the forced seclusion as a chance to learn more about her family and why her parents left her and Rew to be raised by their grandmother. You get invested in Annie’s moments of thought, wanting to find out more about her past just as badly as she does. Becoming pensively engaged with Annie makes the action-filled moments that much more surprising and unexpected, getting your heart racing as Rew especially tries to make trouble for their criminal houseguest.

What’s great about said criminal houseguest, Andrew Snow, is he’s not such a bad guy. Sure, he’s taken Annie, Rew, and their grandmother hostage, but he also cooks for the family, tells them stories, and cleans up the house that has been overrun by Annie’s grandma’s hoarder ways. I found myself getting Stockholm syndrome and hoping that Andrew Snow would somehow be excused from his crimes and live happily ever after with Annie and her family. This psychological back and forth of knowing Snow has done bad things in the past, but finding myself relating to him at certain moments, speaks to Gewirtz’s ability to make complex and fascinating characters.

Gewirtz also knows how to edit herself. Rather than painstakingly take us through each day Annie and her family are held in captivity, she only shows us the juicy moments. This eliminates monotonous days that all resemble one another, and makes each moment in Annie’s story stand out for its uniqueness and development of the overall story. This also helps the reader cruise through the book, as the action is so perfectly placed that you can’t wait to find out how this whole situation pans out.

In the end, Annie learns some important lessons about herself and her family that lead to the endearing and sweet moments of this hostage situation. Gewirtz’s captivating storytelling took my attention hostage (yep, I said it), and I can’t wait for her next book.
Good Points
An eleven-year-old's perspective of what it's like to be taken hostage.
A great blend of tension-filled action and a literary voice.
Pacing that keeps you invested in the story until the very end.
Report this review Comments (2) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Instant Karma
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
In New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer's young adult...
Put Yourself in My Shoes
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Cricket goes for a walk, he finds Ladybug searching...
Selma
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Selma is asked: What is happiness? ...
Benjamin's Blue Feet
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A young bird with a flair for discovery and invention...
Pocket Piggies: I Love You!
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
What’s the best thing in the world? I...
Everything Under the Sun
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sun’s Reach is in dire peril. The last...
Lizzy Albright and the Attic Window
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lizzy Albright, a red-headed, freckle-faced girl from Overland Park, Kansas,...
Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
There are worse things than death. ...
The Walrus and the Caribou
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
When the earth was new, words had the power to...
The Elephant's Umbrella
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Elephant is always ready and willing to share her prized...
Calvin Gets the Last Word
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dictionary as narrator? YES! ...
Goblin King (Permafrost, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Kara Barbieri's Goblin King, the stunning sequel in the...
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Morrigan battles a new evil as a strange, frightening illness...
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
*AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* From New York...
Earth-Shattering Events: Volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis and other natural disasters
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An atlas of the most extreme meteorological and geological disasters...
Among the Beasts and Briars
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns...

Latest Member Reviews

Instant Karma
 
3.7
"INSTANT KARMA is an overall charming YA contemporary. Prudence is finishing tenth grade and completely fed up with her biology..."
Kingdom of the Wicked
 
4.3
"Thrills and chills abound in Kerri Maniscalco‘s new release Kingdom of the Wicked. I don’t know where to start! This..."
Send Me Their Souls (Bring Me Their Hearts, #3)
 
4.3
"SEND ME THEIR SOULS is a gut-wrenching finale to a fantastic YA fantasy series. In this third book, we begin..."
Goblin King (Permafrost, #2)
 
4.0
"GOBLIN KING is a much faster-paced and action-packed YA fantasy sequel. Janneke has taken the mantle of the stag, though..."
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
 
4.3
"SWAMP THING: TWIN BRANCHES is a graphic novel about finding yourself, remembering history, and forging your own path forward. Alec..."
The Mirror: Broken Wish (The Mirror, #1)
 
5.0
"BROKEN WISH is a beautifully composed fairytale. The book begins with the story of Mathilda and Agnes, neighbors who have..."
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GILDED WOLVES is a fantastic YA fantasy. Although given a year in the 1800s and a historical setting, the..."
The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)
 
4.3
"That ending!!! THE SILVERED SERPENTS is an engaging YA historical fantasy that picks up after the first book ended, and..."
Among the Beasts and Briars
 
4.7
"Ashley Poston has crafted a new fairy tale for the ages! Among the Beasts and Briars may very well be..."
Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #2)
 
4.0
"WARRIORS OF WING AND FLAME is an intriguing conclusion to a YA fantasy duology about sisterhood. This book picks up..."
Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #1)
 
3.7
"SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT is an intriguing YA fantasy that focuses on the love between sisters. Zuhra has lived..."
Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA
 
5.0
"FORESHADOW is a fantastic collection of short stories with a focus on discussion and writing. Each story is undeniably well-composed..."