"Jungle of Bones" by Ben Mikaelsen is the kind of novel that will take the reader on an outrageously exciting adventure, and the reader won’t know its full impact until the story has ended and the book closed.
By his own admission, our main character, Dylan Barstow, is a screw up. He has no friends, and he feels like his journalist dad died for no reason. I mean, did he really have to go to cover a genocide in Darfur? Didn't he love them enough to want to stick around?
One thing he can't stand is his mother telling him what to do so when he decides to sneak out one night, take an old car from the junkyard, and go for a joyride, he's just having a little fun.
He didn't think about the fence he mowed down, the farmer's field he tore up while doing donuts, or that the owner of the junkyard would call the cops. Needless to say when the dust settled from those donuts, police cruisers were waiting for him.
Dylan never expects his mother to leave him in jail overnight, and he certainly doesn't expect his Uncle Todd from Portland to have come all the way to Wisconsin just because of a little joyride. Uncle Todd, it turns out, has a hare-brained idea that Dylan is going to the other side of the world to Papua New Guinea with him to find a bomber jet, the Second Ace. Seriously?!
Come to find out, Dylan's grandfather flew on that plane and after it crashed, he survived for two weeks in the jungle. By the time they were discovered in the dense brush, he was the sole survivor.
Which is why they were there in the first place...Uncle Todd and a group have been hunting for the Second Ace to discover its location, its lost soldiers' remains, and to bring it home.
Living and dealing with Uncle Todd is difficult, but when Dylan pulls stunts by not preparing for the trip to the jungleth, a true adventure begins. He must now survive in the jungle on his own, and it's not clear that this law-breaking kid from Wisconsin is going to make it.
Mikaelsen writes a story that is tantalizingly scary about a boy who has to choose to fight for his own life...or give up everything that has been earned for him.