Survival stories are often sad and gut wrenching. RED FOX ROAD takes you on a journey full of those elements. You’ll want to curl up in a warm spot with plenty of nourishment to make it through the pages. Here’s the official summary from Penguin Random House:

Francie and her parents are on a spring road trip: driving from British Columbia, Canada, to hike in the Grand Canyon. When a shortcut leads them down an old logging road, disaster strikes. Their truck hits a rock and wipes out the oil pan. They are stuck in the middle of nowhere. Francie can’t help feeling a little excited — she’d often imagined how she’d survive if she got stranded in the bush, and now here they are. But will her survival skills — building fires, gathering dandelion leaves and fir needles for tea — be enough when hours stretch into days?

Francie is the true heroine of the story and her first person narration pinpoints both the present predicament and a past she’s trying to understand. Much of the hurt stems from Francie’s twin sister dying from a heart condition many years ago. The predicament of being lost in the woods uncorks many of those memories. But it’s the present that becomes a live or die situation.

For starters, Dad takes off looking for help and doesn’t come back. Mom is mentally unstable and needs frequent smokes of marijuana. A few days into the ordeal, she disappears leaving Francie a note to stay put—alone. Francie’s survival skills are amazing as she uses everything learned to keep going—even into the 13th day.

The tale is a nail biting page turner with an ending that leaves a few plot points hanging. Major case in point: We never do find out if one of the parents is alive or dead. Frustrating for the reader, but this has sequel written all over it. Overall, fans of survival stories have another gem to add to their collection.



  1. You feel you are on that road with Francie given the rich detail she gives to her surroundings. Great writing.
  2. It’s fantastic to see a strong girl in the survival hot seat. Most MG books use a male as the central character.
  3. The survival techniques are also richly described. Francie’s mind is trying to break her but this whip smart girl has other plans.
  4. The past is woven into the hundreds of hours Francie is alone thinking. It’s a powerful way to bring forth the family’s story and how it impacts the present.
  5. Buddy the dog brings much needed relief to the battle scarred reader.

ABOUT FRANCES GREENSLADE (From the author’s web site — Don’t miss the official trailer for the book on her front page)

I was born in St. Catharines, Ontario and grew up with four sisters and one brother, playing among the grapes and orchards of the Niagara Peninsula. My father often travelled to Winnipeg on business and came home saying, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” We moved there when I was ten.

The move to Winnipeg meant living in a city for the first time in my life. I felt like a caged animal at first. I missed the fields where I could run without stopping, the creek where we used to catch frogs and swim on hot days, picking leeches from between our toes afterwards, and the pond we skated on in winter. But it was also in Winnipeg where I first knew that I would become a writer. I set up a makeshift desk in a little crawlspace off the bedroom I shared with my sister.  It smelled like old newspaper and pine cones, and it had a grating I could peek out of to watch people on the sidewalk below.

I filled Hilroy scribblers with stories and my first attempts at novels, usually mysteries, suspiciously like Nancy Drew novels, which supplied the bulk of my reading material at the time.

I’ve never really stopped peeking through grates at life going on around me. And the best places for me to write are still small and private. 


I received a copy of the book for my honest critique. Leave a comment below if time allows!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to RED FOX ROAD

  1. Glad you enjoyed this one. And I agree that it’s great that the protagonist is girl. Sounds like a great read for this winter. Thanks.

  2. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a thrilling story! I don’t read many survival books, but this one sounds like a good one to possibly start with! I hope there will be a sequel to clear up some of the cliffhangers. Thanks for the great review!

  3. Danielle Hammelef says:

    Once again, your list of 5 Things has intrigued me. I am going to check out this book on Goodreads.

  4. I like survival stories, especially with strong protagonists like Gracie. The cliffhanger at the end is interesting. Hope there is a sequel. This touches on many topics, including mental illness. Thanks for sharing today!

  5. Jenni says:

    I really like survival stories and enjoyed Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain. It’s really nice to see a survival book from a girl’s perspective. I also like that she’s very knowledgeable about nature and actually think it’s an adventure at first. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention!

  6. I do love a good survivor story and this one sounds great. Thanks for the heads up. I will look for this one.

  7. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    Sounds like a great nailbiter. Thanks for the post.

  8. Pingback: Red Fox Road — Review – Rosi Hollinbeck

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