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Book review: 'Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island' is a mysteriously great youth adventure

By Mike Whitmer

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 25 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"CRATER LAKE: Battle for Wizard Island," by Steve Westover, Cedar Fort, $14.99, 256 pages (f)

Ethan is not pleased that his family has come to Crater Lake National Park for their summer vacation. It means that for two weeks he will have to listen to crazy stories from his Uncle Bart about Native American legends and other mysteries in the old park. The only positive is the arrival of a cute girl, Allie, and her family. But then things begin to happen that change this simple vacation into a grand adventure and magical mystery.

Mormon author Steve Westover's book "Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island" taps into his personal experience in the national park. The author writes about five young people who are trying to retrieve their family from the clutches of a Native American chieftain.

Readers will encounter protective cougars, evaporating birds, magical ships and dangerous forests as they follow the intrepid adventurers on their quest for recovery.

Everything starts when, without warning, all the people over the age of 16 are swallowed by the earth. The youngsters left behind can't understand what has happened and have a difficult time deciding what to do. Banding together, five kids (Ethan, Jordan, Allie, Jacob and Brady) search for clues to the disappearance of their friends and loved ones. Guided by Che-Tan, a mysterious Native American youth, they learn that they must find a series of items necessary to free the adults from "Below World" before it is too late.

Westover has created a delightfully delicious story of young people finding courage and strength in a circumstance that would daunt most adults. There is plenty of action and even a tiny bit of romance as the hearty group struggles through challenges.

Written for young adults, this book can be enjoyed by most youths 10 or older. Adults may also find it interesting, with enough excitement that they will not be bored. Take the family on an adventure to "Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island" and they won't be disappointed.

Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and spends time thinking of things to think about. His email is grundelwalken@gmail.com and he blogs at mtwhitmer.blogspot.com.

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