Review & Giveaway: Escape Through the Wilderness-Gary Rodriguez

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Release date: October 7, 2014

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Genre: YA/Teen Adventure

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Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

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2.5/5 Stars

+++I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour


  • The resilience of humans in the face of danger is perfectly captured in this ragtag group of fighters. Each character is unique and has a back story that is laced with their own brand of tragedy but they unite against their fears to save each other. Savi, Rico, Jade, and Conner each bring something to the group whether it’s a tender heart, bravery, or keeping up their spirits, they all make mistakes and grow stronger in the face of their trials. 
  • Faith in God, the power of friendship and believing in oneself are the main themes of this adventure and throughout every hardship their faith waivers. Each test brings them closer together and changes them. They grow substantially as the story progresses.
  • Savi is the glue that holds them together. Her tears and pain are an emotional journey that will leave the reader questioning how far they could go until their strength and faith were put on the line. Savi never gives up and has the heart of a serious fighter. She’s pretty intense and wicked with a pistol or spear. 
  • The action scenes were horrifying. The tension and adrenaline were high as the forces of nature and wild animals caught sight of their prey. The battles were bloody, gruesome and up in the air. 


  • The dialogue and catchphrases of the characters are immature and more fitting for children that are much younger than 16 or 17. The story feels more in the realm of children’s than young adult or for a 13-year-old (maybe younger apart from the relatively graphic violence). Some of the interactions read awkwardly and left me puzzled over the general disconnect between the supposed age of the character and the age they act. 
  • Sections were slow and some scenes felt forced and unnecessary.
  • Foreshadowing was extremely blatant and the narrator’s voice was a little cheesy. 
  • The description was not nearly as graphic or detailed as I was hoping for and left a lot to the imagination.

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Enter for your chance to win one of 10 ebook copies or one of 10 paperback copies of ETtW

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Gary RodriguezTwitter/Facebook/Blog/Goodreads/Company Website/Author’s Den

My name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I’m the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution. 

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season.

As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

Over the past few years, I’ve written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel. 

My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

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