Friday, July 15, 2011

68 Knots by Michael Robert Evans

68 Knots

Author: Michael Robert Evans

Publisher: Tanglewood Press

4½ out of 5 stars

The wind rushes through your hair, throwing it back out of your face.  You tilt your head to the sun as you soak up the sunshine.  Your arms open wide as if you are ready to catch the ocean, and in return the ocean spray mists onto your face.  Seagulls caw in the distance as they glide over the waves.  You can’t help but smile wide as you see the whole world laid out in front of you.  It’s yours to explore.   This is how summer should be, you think.  Not a care in the world, you can do absolutely anything you desire.  No parents, no chores, no boring days in front of the television.  You’re with friends sailing along the coast of Maine, what could go wrong?  A lot it turns out…

It was supposed to be fun.  In reality, it was a lot more than they had bargained for.  Eight teens didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they signed up for Captain McKinley’s Leadership Cruise on board the Dreadnought.  It was going to be a summer full of sailing, leadership, life skills, and fun!  Boy, was the Leadership Cruise advertised wrong.  Arthur, Dawn, Joy, Jesse, Bill, Marietta, Crystal, and Logan soon realize that this summer isn’t going to be at all like how any of them had thought.  It soon becomes evident that Captain McKinley, or the Commodore, isn’t quite right in the head.  He has sudden outbursts of anger, and at other times lapses of complete calm.  It’s going to be hard to have an enjoyable summer with a man like that running the ship.

However, Captain McKinley won’t be running the Dreadnought much longer.  After the cruise’s counselors ditch the ship, the group of teens is left all alone with Captain McKinley.  Like usual, Captain McKinley tells the teens not to bother him, and that he’ll be down below.  This night is different though.  When Arthur goes down to the captain’s quarters he discovers Captain McKinley has killed himself.  All of a sudden, the teens realize that they are on their own in the middle of the ocean, with little to no experience.  No matter how mature, tough, or smart any of these kids thought they were, their skills will truly be tested in this fight for survival.

The teens band together to try and make this summer the best ever.  They don’t have to be back anytime soon, and it’s not like their parents will miss them, so why not give it a shot?  They have sixty-eight days to try and accomplish the impossible, and they’re not about to back down.  Will Arthur, Dawn, Joy, Jesse, Bill, Marietta, Crystal, and Logan be able to survive on the Dreadnought, or will they die trying?  All is revealed, in Michael Robert Evans intense story of eight teens’ journey to discover themselves and what it means to truly live in, 68 Knots!

This is a perfect read for the summer, and it will have you feeling as if you are right alongside these eight teens as they sail away their summer.  Arthur, Dawn, Joy, Jesse, Bill, Marietta, Crystal, and Logan all came together for a common goal, but each of them were still so different.  This book has something for everyone.  Filled with romance, adventure, mystery, and life lessons, 68 Knots will appeal to teens of all ages.  I received 68 Knots from NetGalley* and I recommend it for teens fourteen and up, as this book does contain some mature content. 

I really enjoyed how each teen had a story to tell.  Some of them shared early on, while others only fed small tidbits to those they felt closest to.  In the end though, these eight teens would be friends for life and would do anything for each other.  How do you go through what they did, and not stay friends?  Each had diverse backgrounds, but as the story progressed, I would learn a little bit more about what lives each of them came from.  They might all be from different worlds, but in the end, all they wanted was to have the summer of their lives.

It was also so much fun to read about the trouble that these guys got into!  I was shocked, with my mouth hanging open, by what they did at times.  What can you expect from eight teens that have the summer all to themselves though?  Whether it was stealing lobsters from lobster traps, going skinny dipping in the ocean, or searching for lost treasure, they were always up for trying new things.  However, this summer wasn’t all fun and games for them, as they still had to face serious consequences when they arrived home.

The title, 68 Knots, holds a great deal of significance in the story as well.  In the beginning, Arthur, who appoints himself as captain, cuts and hangs sixty-eight knots of rope in the cabin.  Each knot stands for the days they have left till their time on the Dreadnought must come to an end.  As each day passes, Arthur undoes a knot, counting down to the last one.  It was interesting to see how the teens grew over the course of their trip.  With each passing knot, Arthur, Dawn, Joy, Jesse, Bill, Marietta, Crystal, and Logan all slowly developed and truly found themselves.  By the time they came back home, they were different people.

The story of 68 Knots was a bit hard to believe in the beginning.  After Captain McKinley commits suicide, the teens are on their own.  Well, it was all a bit hard to grasp at first.  I think that if things were taken a bit more slowly, then it would have given me some more time to adjust to all that was going on.  However, it was also nice to be plunged right into the story, and forced to feel just as confused and lost as they did.

68 Knots is a thrilling tale of eight teens’ adventure of a lifetime, which turns into much more than that.  A wonderful standalone novel that will have you wondering what you can make out of life.  Join Arthur, Dawn, Joy, Jesse, Bill, Marietta, Crystal, and Logan as they set out to have the summer of their lives in, 68 Knots!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

*I received this book from NetGalley, a website on which you can request free advanced reader copies of books. I received 68 Knots by Michael Robert Evans in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you NetGalley!

Check out Michael Robert Evans website


  1. Well, this book certainly sounds exciting! Books about teens stranded at sea are sometimes intense, but 68 Knots sounds fun! I'm glad the characters are well developed in this story--characters usually make or break a book for me! Great review, Tessa! :)

  2. This does sound like a great summer read! It's cool how you get to learn the backgrounds of each of the characters as the story progresses. Great review!

  3. Wow, awesome review! Very thorough and insightful :)) Sounds like a very good read. I'll try and find time to read it! I have soooo much summer work (T^T) that I had to put away some of the books I was reading, including Delerium (;A;) But I promise to pick it up again soon!!! Great review, once again :3

  4. Lauren M- I agree, I would think that this book would be very intense. It was, but at the same time it focused mainly on these eight teens having a great summer. The characters were definitely one of the best parts! Thanks!

    Aylee- Thanks! It was very interesting how the characters' backgrounds were slowly revealed. These teens were so diverse, yet came together for the same cause.

    Sonny- Thank you so much! Oh, I have so, so much work for school I have to do over the summer as well! I put down Delirium too, but I was pretty far into it and it is SO good! Can't wait to hear what you think of it :)

  5. Sounds awesome, but the maternal side of me is already cringing with worry! LOL. I might have to take a little chill pill before I could read this...hehe

  6. Once again an awesome review! I always love how descriptive your first paragraphs are! And this book sounds awesome but I'm not sure I'd ever last out at sea like that lol.

  7. BookGeek- Haha, oh I know! If I was a mother I would be absolutely horrified my child was out at sea like that! Sadly, some of the parents in 68 Knots didn't even care that their child had been gone the whole summer under these circumstances :(

    Kira- Thanks! I doubt I'd be able to last at sea like that, let alone a whole summer! I've never been a huge fan of boats, but these kids really stepped up to the plate. Who knows, maybe under the pressure we'd both be able to survive ;)


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