Book: Avery McShane and the Silver Spurs by Greg Lyonscategories: Book, Boys, Kidnapping, Floods, Mystery, Explosions, Treehouse, Secret Club, Corrupt Police, Diamond Smugglers, Caymans, Jungle Adventure
Greg Lyonsabout this book: Avery McShane is a classic boy's adventure story, set in the Venezuelan jungle. Think young Indiana Jones solving dangerous Hardy Boys type mysteries with a Stand By Me group of friends. Not a vampire, ghoul, or zombie in sight.
I was inspired to write this story because I actually spent my formative years growing up in an oil company camp in the middle of Venezuela. Those were the best years of my life, so full of adventures, most of them starting in our treehouse in the jungle. Avery McShane is an embellishment of those adventures. I guess the story was exciting and unique enough to be published by Bloomsbury Children's Books, the same folks who brought us Harry Potter!
Parents of middle grade kids - especially reluctant boy readers - will love this book. Here are two reviews I thought said what I wanted to hear:
• "My son loved this adventure tale of Avery and his friends. Such a refreshing change from the typical stories being written today. No vampires or aliens in sight! Just your normal boys adventure story. He got so caught up in the story that he even wanted to know if we could move to Venuzuela. How cool is that! He is so hoping there will be a next book, so hopefully this will encourage the writer, Greg Lyons, to get cracking.
Moms of 10 year old boys, here is a book your son can really enjoy, is age appropriate, and will encourage your son to want to read. My son was, for the first time, easy to persuade to go to bed, so that he could read and find out what happened next."
— D. Smith (August 7, 2012)
• "Imagine you're a nine year old boy. Now imagine an American, oil-drilling, ex-pat community in the middle of the Venezuelan jungle. Enter Avery McShane, his best friends – Todd and Billy, and his dog, Mati. They call themselves the Machacas, have a secret hideout, and for fun, go on banana-stealing missions to the local plantation.
Liking it so far?
The Machacas certainly were, until they uncovered diamond smugglers, a kidnapping and a brutal murder. Armed with slingshots and a rucksack of fireworks, the motley crew go on the mission of their lives.
This tightly written adventure is full of pace, action and tension with a gentle sprinkling of humour. Lyons wonderfully evokes the exotic environs of a South American rainforest, which is not surprising when you learn that the author grew up in such a place, and seems to have led a life as wild and exciting as Avery McShane's.
My only quibble (and it is a tiny one) is that the book is pitched at the wrong age. Avery is supposed to be twelve, but to my mind, he is much younger; and therefore I would pitch the book at a younger readership of 8/9+. With not a hormone or girl in sight, this is a good, old-fashioned boy's adventure.
Now it's time to imagine you're a sensible grown up again. That's the feeling you get when you finish Avery McShane and the Silver Spurs."
— Kieran Fanning, for 'INIS - The Children's Books Ireland Magazine' (August 2012 Issue)
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
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