By Gary Paulsen
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is en route to spending the summer with his father when the pilot of the single engine plane in which he is flying has a heart attack. The plane crashes in a lake in the Canadian wilderness, leaving Brian alone in the woods with nothing but the clothes on his back and a hatchet that his mother had given him. During the fifty-four days that Brian lives in the wilderness, he learns to read nature, conquer his fears, rely on his own ingenuity, and deal with the haunting secret that caused his parents’ recent divorce. He comes of age in the woods, but in ways he never expected. He is no longer angry at his parents, and he realizes that self-pity has no positive effect on life. He is a survivor, and that is what makes him a man.