On the Free


Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Carolrhoda Lab (R)
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Coert Voorhees holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Houston, and he was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in the translation of Chilean theatre. He lives with his family in Houston, Texas.


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"After a heavy rainstorm and mudslide, Santi, Victor, and Amelia are separated from the other campers in the mountains of Colorado. Each became part of the Bear Canyon Wilderness Therapy Program for different reasons. Santi opted for the therapy program in exchange for time at juvenile detention. Victor wanted to gain access to his strict, controlling stepfather's secluded cabin in the mountains of Colorado and pay him back for years of control. Amelia, trying to prove a point and escape the pressures of her privileged life, decided to use the summer to become an assistant leader of the group. Due to the catastrophic elements of nature, they are soon faced with wild predators, lack of food and water, and challenging weather conditions; however, the biggest danger maybe the conflict between the troubled teens.

Broken into three parts, the book nicely reveals background information, feelings, and motives of each character. As the story progresses, readers will develop an emotional attachment to the teens. The book's ending leaves some unanswered questions, which may be disappointing to some. Nonetheless, this fast-paced survival story would be a good recommendation for fans of Gary Paulsen or Will Hobbs."--VOYA

-- (12/1/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"Voorhees (In Too Deep, 2013) places his cast in the Bear Canyon Wilderness Therapy Program, and they aren't out of the woods yet. Literally. Santiago, Rico, Celeste, and Victor all have their own problems and have been sent or volunteered to go through the program with the help of their leaders, Jerry and Amelia. Everything is going as well as possible, considering they all have to survive the elements, when disaster strikes. Santiago, Amelia, and Victor all must learn to trust one another and get out of the wild, but Victor has an ulterior motive that could lead to them dying. Told in close third person and split into three narratives, this is a survival story that grips the reader until the very end. Voorhees tells each character's backstory by alternating between past and present without muddling the reader with random characters or wilderness lessons. Thrilling, suspenseful, and fast-paced, this is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat read."--Booklist

-- (8/31/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"A violent nighttime storm in Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness area decimates a campsite where four juvenile offenders and two counselors are participating in a wilderness therapy program. Santiago 'Santi' Rivas and his antagonistic tentmate, Victor West, become airborne in their tent and tumble down the mountain in windswept darkness. They find the junior counselor, Amelia, injured in the mudslide, and the threesome set out to find help an estimated 18 miles away. The inhospitable terrain impedes the trio's progress as they cope with injuries, a lack of supplies, and evidence of mountain lions. This 'man vs. nature' conflict drives the plot and fuels tension among the emotionally troubled young people. Chapters flash back to family dynamics that shaped each character, such as Santi's disengaged guardian in a gang-ridden neighborhood, Victor's controlling stepfather who used his wealth to intimidate, and Amelia's nomadic family who moved her from school to school, causing her feel as if she didn't belong. Behavioral motivations come to fruition in the final chapters because Victor is harboring a secret that changes the group dynamic; its resolution becomes the ending's focus, leaving readers to speculate about their fate. Outdoorsy teens will appreciate the realistic hiking and camping takeaways, such as wearing good shoes and being able to read a map, stake a tent, or splint an injured limb. VERDICT An additional purchase for where survival fiction is popular."--School Library Journal

-- (7/25/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"Seeking to avoid jail time, 16-year-old Santi Rivas agrees to a backpacking trip with a wilderness-therapy program in the mountains of Colorado. The diverse group includes Victor, rich, 'gigantic asshole, ' Celeste, a purple-haired girl who revels in her dysfunction, and Rico, a rebel with a smart mouth. Led by the earnest but clueless Jerry and Amelia, who is nursing pain of her own, the six travel deep into the woods. Bears and mountain lions are an ever present danger, but the rage and pain each feels are the real monsters. Chapters alternate between the campers' current struggles and the events that led up to their participation in the trip. Santi begins, cataloging his painful childhood and his devotion to his sister. Victor continues the story, telling of the dark side of wealth. The tale finishes with Amelia, determined to find her inner warrior. Authentic, foulmouthed teen dialogue and a tone-sensitive treatment of different life experiences make this a positive story for personal growth and positive change. Santi is Latinx, though racial and ethnic markers for other characters are slim. While sexual double-entendre is realistically pervasive in the teens' exchanges, it never feels forced or gratuitous. An awkward ending is the only major misstep."--Kirkus Reviews

-- (7/15/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"On the Free is a roaring adventure that will make you stand up and cheer."--Justin Cronin, author of The Passage Trilogy

-- (2/8/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"On the Free is a fast-moving and gripping survival story, driven by characters as complex and layered as rugged mountain terrain. Studded with secrets and betrayals, sudden tragedies and surprising kindnesses, it's an intense journey through a remarkable landscape, and one where the characters' pasts prove to be bigger obstacles than the steep slopes and deep ravines they must cross."--Michael Northrop, author of Gentlemen, Trapped, and the TombQuest series

-- (2/8/2017 12:00:00 AM)