Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice
If you are a fan of Will Hobbs, Gary Paulsen, and Bill Wallace, you will love this book. Twelve-year-old Erik has just passed his hunting license and is about to go on his first-ever hunting trip when he finds out that the Army has called up his parents for active duty in Iraq. In less than a week, he is shipped off to North Dakota to live with his grandparents who he barely knows. Oma is nice, but Big Darrell is gruff and strict. He’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, internet or even cable TV. On his first full day there, Erik rescues a dog that has been stuck by a porcupine. Big Darrell tells Erik he can’t keep her but Erik has already named her Quill and doesn’t want to give her up. He decides to run away, taking the dog and a shotgun, certain that they can survive by living off the land. In this story of adventure and survival, Erik learns about the challenges and satisfactions of living off the land, the power of family secrets, and the pain of losing what you love.