Strike of the Shark by Bear Grylls
Mission Survival bk 6. Doubleday, 2013. ISBN: 9781782950028.
Strike of the Shark is the sixth book in Bear Grylls' Mission Survival Series. It stars Beck Granger, a 14 year old boy whose parents took him travelling all over the world from a young age, exposing him to various tribes and cultures from which he learned an array of survival skills. Prior to this book his parents had both been killed leaving Beck an orphan under the custody of his uncle. His many exploits, even since the death of his parents, have given him some level of world renown as a survival expert.
In this book, Beck travels from Florida out into the waters of the Bermuda triangle on a cruise ship that is sabotaged, leaving him and four others stranded in the middle of the ocean. The five come face to face with shipwreck, isolation, lack of water, shark attack and the battle between good and evil. The survival themes are strong, with basic and useful survival tips incorporated into the narrative. The protagonist (though somewhat extremely larger than life) is a likable boy with strong moral principles. The plot, especially as part of a series, is rather far-fetched and the main character certainly has an unrealistic level of life experience, but the story should be fairly engaging for a young audience.
The language and structure is simple, though certainly lacks sophistication and is not particularly well written. It gets off to a bit of a slow start, though the plot does have several twists and turns.
The main function of this book would be to capture the interest of young people who are perhaps not avid readers. In my opinion the survival tips they have integrated are the novel's best feature. They encourage children and teens to respect the environment around them and not take unnecessary risks, but equip them with some basic principles for how to deal with unforseen circumstances. The novel promotes values of respect, conservation, understanding of humanity, morality and determination. It is a worthwhile addition to a school library, though would likely not be useful as a class text.