Escape Under the Forever Sky, by Eve Yohalem;
Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 2009; $16.99
Moving. Awe-inspiring. These are words I would use to describe Eve Yohalem’s first novel, Escape Under the Forever Sky. Lucy Hoffman, the daughter of an American ambassador in Ethiopia (a country in east Africa), is kidnapped. She’s taken to a place far from where she and her mother are staying. At first I thought Ethiopia was pronounced “Utopia.” It is anything but that. Ethiopia is a dry desert land where the sky appears huge. Many animals live in Ethiopia, like hyenas, monkeys and lions.
Lucy manages to escape the kidnappers, but now she must get back home and she has no idea where she is. Lucy must use her knowledge of African animals to survive in the Ethiopian wilderness. I love animals like Lucy does. I like birds, cats, dogs, fish and many more animals (except for worms and slugs), so I especially enjoyed the parts of the book where animals helped in Lucy’s survival. For example, Lucy follows a monkey, who leads her to water. She follows the water, which turns out to be crucial to her survival. Lucy finds food many different ways. One is finding a banana tree. When night fell and Lucy had to sleep, she would sleep in a tree. I can’t imagine sleeping in a tree. I would be worried about falling out of the tree and about other animals in tree.
You have to realize that when Lucy escaped from the kidnappers she had nothing at all. No food or water. No technology. And most importantly, no one to help her find food or water, no one to tell her if a certain thing is poisonous or good to eat. It is as if she is totally cut off from the world.
This book is based on a true story. In 2005, a twelve-year-old girl was kidnapped from her Ethiopian village and was held captive for a week before she escaped. A few hours after her escape, the police found her.
I would describe Lucy as a fun and loving girl. However, Lucy’s mother doesn’t always have time for her, and Lucy’s father is in Indonesia working for the World Bank.
Lucy and I are a lot alike. We both want adventure, not just to be cooped up in the house.
I have been lost once, but it was only for a very short time—definitely not as long as Lucy. But from that experience, I know that when you’re lost you have a sense of urgency and a strong will to get back to a familiar person or place.
This is an adventure book, but it is funny. Lucy never loses her sense of humor. For example, even when Lucy is being held captive by the kidnappers, she still has the heart to nickname a mosquito Mr. Malaria.
This book is probably one of the best books I will ever read! It is beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I encourage you to read it, too!