Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
Since his girlfriend dumped him, Jayden has been avoiding school-and life in general. When his eccentric uncle Mel invites him to help with his biology research at an Australian university, he figures he has nothing to lose. Once he arrives, he discovers Mel is obsessed with finding a new species of lizard and is determined to be the first to discover it. Unfortunately, this means an expedition into the scorching desert heat of the Australian outback...with the increasingly paranoid Mel and an unfriendly biology student named Natalie. Then disaster strikes, and Jayden and Nat find themselves many miles from civilization fighting for their survival.
Also available in Spanish.
About the author
Robin Stevenson is the award-winning author of more than 25 books for kids and teens, including the board book Pride Colors, the picture book Ghost’s Journey: A Refugee Story and the nonfiction books Kid Activists and Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle. The first edition of her nonfiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community (2016) won a Stonewall Honor and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. Robin lives in Victoria, British Columbia, where she attends Pride celebrations with her family every year, but always leaves her dog safely at home.
- Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
- Commended, TriState YA Review Group Book of Note
Excerpt: Outback (by (author) Robin Stevenson)
And then we watch helplessly as the jeep burns. Flames leap from the driver's window and lick at the door frame, red tongues reaching into the black smoke. A wall of heat pushes toward us.
"There's...drama and excitement [in this] survival tale."
The Horn Book Guide
"Well-written and intriguing, I read Outback in one sitting. The characters are very well-developed for such a short novel, and I found myself rooting for them at every turn...A fast-paced and enjoyable read for all, but I would definitely recommend this novel for reluctant readers or low level readers."
"This fast-paced story gives enough descriptive detail to the give the reader a real feel for the scenery…Reluctant readers will gobble it up."
Tri-State YA Book Review Committee
"Though short and straightforwardly told, the characters and plot are engaging and it should be a hit with the Hi/Low audience."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"Compliments to Stevenson who has succeeded in giving readers a vivid picture...A successful, fast-paced adventure story. Recommended."
Other titles by Robin Stevenson
True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers
The Celebration and the Struggle
A Refugee Story
My Body My Choice
The Fight for Abortion Rights
LGBTQ2 Writers on Coming Out and Into Canada