*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Cliff-Hanger: A Mystery in Mesa Verde National Park" by Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson

Awhile back I took advantage of a free day at Aztec Ruins National Monument. While I was there, I cam across the  Mysteries in Our National Parks series. I am weird and tend to buy books instead of souvenirs, but feel that this is always the correct choice. In this case, I was not at all disappointed.  Sadly, there were no books about Aztec Ruins, but since Mesa Verde is close (and I have been there), it seemed like a good place to start. Unfortunately, the copy I bought didn't have a number on it, so I didn't realize that there appears to be an order in which to read them (as I have only read one so far, I'm not certain how important the reading order is yet). Because of this, I felt that I didn't get the best introduction to the characters, but that is not the books' fault.

Jack and Ashley often visit National Parks thanks to their mom's job as a veterinarian and their father's job as a photographer.  And their family often takes in foster children. So it's is not out of the norm when a girl name Lucky is put into their custody right before they travel to Mesa Verde to try and solve a wild cougar problem. Something mysterious is going on with Lucky; she makes phone calls in the middle of the night, the small amount of information she gives about her upbringing doesn't quite make sense and just may be more trouble than she is worth. On top of this, Jack and Ashley witness just how drastic the cougar attacks at Mesa Verde might be as multiple people have been hurt. As the novel progresses, so the stress and suspense.

I really enjoyed this book. I like that it takes place in a real location that can actually be visited as that enhances the story. I also enjoyed that it dealt with some very real issues and not just the mystery that takes place in the park. By this, I mean Lucky's plot. At first, I was surprised because I didn't expect such dramatic plot line, but upon finishing Cliff-Hanger I am glad that this book did not sugarcoat the subject. I feel that Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson did a great job of intertwining the two main plots into one book. I think that older kids (maybe 10 or so) would get more out this book, particularly those that have visited Mesa Verde, or those that will be going there soon. I have since found many of the other books in this series at the library, and am anxious to read them as well!

Happy Reading!

In case you are curious, photos from my Aztec Ruins Adventure:

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