Hatchet

6 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 10,889 ratings

Summary

The sole survivor of a plane crash-landing in the Canadian wilderness, 13-year-old Brian Robeson must quickly learn to adapt and fend for himself—armed with only a hatchet and his will to live. 

Faced with wild animals, the lack of any of the comforts of modern living, and the threat of starvation, Brian must discover every trick possible to stay alive until he can escape the wilderness. Scared and alone, Brian struggles with thoughts of home, especially of how he caught his mother cheating on his father before they divorced. With winter fast approaching, it’s a race to see if Brian will be rescued or suffer exposure to Northern Canada’s bone-chilling frost and snow. Spoiler alert: Brian lives to take on more challenges and survival journeys in this gripping series of adventures for young listeners.

Award-winning narrator Peter Coyote brings Brian’s voice to life in the first, second, and fourth books of the series with a solemn but dynamic delivery that pulls each listener into the terror of survival in the deepest wilderness. Richard Thomas, Ron McLarty, and Patrick Lawlor also lend their voices to the series, narrating further audiobooks, including one that explores the inspirations for Brian’s story.

Author Gary Paulsen had his own struggles with survival during adolescence, which he discusses in Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books. Paulsen hunted to supplement his food as a teen, as well as worked as an EMT to help those in a rural area suffering from heart attacks and disasters. He’s dealt with many of the same circumstances that he created for Brian, including run-ins with animals like moose, a plane stalling mid-air over the Arctic, and getting stranded with few supplies due to a flipped canoe.

Hatchet was awarded the Newbery Honor by the Association for Library Service to Children and adapted into a film called A Cry in the Wild. Paulsen has written more than 200 books, hundreds of magazine articles and short stories, and several plays, mostly directed at teenagers. The American Library Association recognized his enduring contribution to young adult literature with the Margaret Edwards Award.

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