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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1 is a young adult contemporary fantasy written by Anderson Atlas. When Allan qualified for the Nationals and broke his best freestyle record, he felt on top of the world -- that is, until he saw his mother's face. There was neither pride nor excitement in her expression, only a grim and angry glare accompanied by his latest report card bearing two F's. His parents were not in the least impressed by his talent for swimming or interest in adventuring; they were already focused upon his getting into an Ivy League college even though he was only 13. Allan's heart sank even further when he saw his father waiting outside the school in the car. They were both furious, and then the unthinkable happened. Their car was struck by another vehicle, and only Allan survived the impact, but he was left a paraplegic and unable to speak.
Anderson Atlas's young adult contemporary fantasy, Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1, starts off with a campfire scene some eight months after the accident. Allan and his uncle and guardian, Rubic, are on a fishing trip, and Rubic's just told a spooky story about a mythical monster called the Jibbawk that eats human flesh and leaves bleeding X's carved in trees. And if that doesn't whet your curiosity, keep on reading, because it just gets better. Atlas' young hero has a lot to cope with -- feelings of guilt over surviving the accident and despair over the loss of family, his dreams of athletic accomplishments and a future filled with adventure. Everything he's taken for granted, however, will change as a result of this camping trip and in ways he could never have imagined -- and it's fabulous following along with him. Allan and Rubic are marvelous characters, and Atlas' plot is well-crafted, original and imaginative. I'm looking forward to the next adventure. Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1 is highly recommended.