Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem

Time Spent reading: 2 hours
Pages: 218
Total time spent on 48 Hour Reading Challenge so far: 16 hours

Set in Ethiopia, this story reminded me of Camel Rider by Prue Mason, a book I read in 2007 for the Cybils. In Camel Rider the spoiled son of an Australian businessman gets lost in the desert; in this story the spoiled daughter of the American ambassador to Ethiopia is kidnapped and escapes to the Ethiopian savannah/forest.

Lucy is over-protected, bored, and anxious to experience the wildlife and the culture of Ethiopia, her erstwhile home. However, Lucy’s mother won’t let her leave the American compound except to go to school, to the museum, and on carefully chaperoned “game drives” in the Menagasha National Park. Unfortunately for Lucy, when she disobeys her mom and sneaks out to a restaurant with her friend Tana, Lucy gets more experience and exposure to African wildlife and culture than she bargained for. (By the way, this book features the second over-protective and controlling mom for the day, and BOTH OF THEM turn out to be right about the dangers they’re trying to protect their snotty daughters from. Just saying.)

The book gets a little too educational at times, particularly in the first third of the story. After the kidnapping, the pace picks up, and Lucy’s escape and experiences in the forest are calculated to appeal especially to animal lovers and young naturalists. According to the author,

Escape Under the Forever Sky was inspired by a true story. In June 2005, a twelve year old girl was kidnapped from her village in southwestern Ethiopia and held captive for a week before she managed to escape. Running through the forest, the girl happened upon three wild lions. The lions surrounded her and chased off her abductors, standing guard for several hours until the police arrived.”

Eve Yohalem’s website with more information about the book and the author.

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