Trouble in the Hills

Set in the Rocky Mountain borderlands, Trouble in the Hills is an action-packed adventure that pits an injured teen against the elements.  As he slowly makes his way back to town over cold, inhospitable terrain, he encounters a trio of kidnappers, the girl who escaped them, his former best friend, and a gang of drug runners. And that's just for starters. Can Cam and Samira survive in a situation where another teen lost his life just a few months earlier?

Fitzhenry and Whiteside Publishers ISBN 978-1554551743 

The whomp! Whomp! Whomp! Of the choppers was deafening. They loomed overhead like giant man-eating insects, ready to pounce.
"You are surrounded. Surrender peacefully and you will not be harmed,” an amplified voice commanded. It seemed like it was coming from everywhere at once.
Cam instinctively held his breath so as not to betray his presence. Not that anyone could hear him amid the chaotic roar of the machines. He was nothing but a bug, after all.
He crouched low, trying to flatten himself into the meadow. There was almost nowhere left to go; their only chance was the creek. Once there, they could make their way along its sheltered banks, hidden by the willows that lined its edge. Then, maybe, they could get to safety.

"In this exciting adventure set in the Canadian Rockies, the action begins with the first sentence and never stops. After arguing with his father, high school student Cam Stewart jumps on his bike and pedals quickly up a trail. A reckless ride is his way of handling his anger at his father, whom he feels constantly badgers him. While on this ride, Cam falls over a cliff, landing on a rock jutting out from the mountain. Badly hurt, but still able to move, he tries to get to safer ground. After another error in judgement, he is thrown into a fast-moving waterfall but saved by a young woman who appears to be running away from someone. Becker keeps the plot moving as Cam and Samira struggle to survive the elements, and more. Drug running, human trafficking, and an innocent romance all factor into making this story a hit with teens. Including reluctant readers. Because of its graphic language, this one is meant for older readers who enjoy extreme sports, and survival stories."
           - School Library Journal 

Filled with non-stop action, the story moves at breakneck speed as Cam faces numereous perilous situations...Short chapters, perfect pacing and lots of action make Helaine Becker's debut YA novel a perfect choice for reluctant boy readers, and once they pick it up, they'll find it impossible to put down until the end."         
- Canadian Children's Book Centre

"Having read a number of novels in the past few months that deal with drug-running and young people struggling to survive in the wilderness, there was the possibility that this novel would simply become another in a long line of formulaic teen survival novels. I am happy to report that Helaine Becker has not fallen into that trap. The novel is action-packed from the beginning, opening mis-en-scene with Cam and Samira running for their lives from helicopters and gun-fire. I was engaged with the story the entire way through, becoming more invested in the plight of the protagonists with each turn of the page...[Cam's] character and personality make him a convincing protagonist, worthy of a reader’s emotional investment.Samira is also a well-constructed and convincing character...Overall, I was quite impressed with the quality and complexity of the text. 

Recommended.                        - CM Magazine

"Trouble in the Hills by Helaine Becker is written with such momentum and energy that the pages simply fly by. A convincing story about the unlikeliest of circumstances, Becker portrays Cam and Samira as two relatively level-headed teens who keep their wits about them even when faced with life or death situations.
Cam’s voice is authentic and entertaining. Becker seems to capture the humour and attitudes of a teenage boy completely and I loved reading about him. Samira is a character with a lot of courage in the face of being completely out of her element in a foreign country. I admired what she brought to the story, though I worried for her safety in the end.
Bushcraft is a term I hadn’t heard of before reading Becker’s story, and as a result I was quite impressed that the skills Cam used to keep himself and Samira alive he learned in school. From finding shelter to building and maintaining a fire to knowing the danger of getting caught in the rain, Cam handled himself in a knowledgeable manner. I was caught up in the drama of surviving and fascinated by the details.
But I think my favourite part was Cam’s relationship with his dad. Becker paints it one way, and completely changes her readers opinion in the end. I love when a writer is able to do that.
I’d definitely recommend Trouble in the Hills to an early teen audience, especially reluctant male readers. The plot simply pulses with suspense and drama and is sure to hook readers."
               -Amy's Marathon of Books


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