Since Jack’s dad died, he has been feeling lost. His mum, an environmental anthropologist, is rarely home and when she is, all she wants to do is have ‘serious chats’. To quench the heavy feeling that has been following him, Jack looks for danger and excitement by getting involved with a gang of boys that want to cause trouble. But suddenly, Jack’s mum suggests a trip abroad together and he finds himself in the depths of the rainforest, dealing with dangers far worse than the ones at home.
This is a fast-paced adventure novel with a lot of heart and originality. The depiction of the rainforest and the characters we meet there are so vivid, transporting the reader to another world and making for immersive reading. Although, as Jack is often kept out of the loop by his mother, it can be frustrating as a reader to not know the true purpose of the group’s mission there. Similarly, when these facts are eventually revealed, they feel rushed. However, the novel does manage to explore the importance of the natural world to communities and to society at large, and how the bravery of regular people can combat threats to these environments.
Fountain paints an accurate picture of grief and the overwhelming emotions that can come with it, while also providing hope by showing us that we have the skills inside us to face any of life’s challenges. And if not, we can always lean on others to lend us a bit of their courage. This is a thrilling read for lovers of adventure, which will teach readers about environmental issues.