________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006


The Stowaway Solution. (On the Run #4).

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2005.
149 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 0-439-65139-5.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Marina Cohen.

***½ /4



They waited for a break in the traffic and crossed to the Staples entrance. The store felt like a strange alternate universe. Every passing glance was a penetrating stare. Aiden held his breath and waited for the look of sudden recognition—the one that would be followed by shouts of: It’s those Falconer kids! Call the cops!

His sister displayed no such trepidation. Classic Meg, cool under fire. Either that or she was too young and naïve to realize that only the flimsiest onionskin layer of vigilance and pure luck separated them from disaster. They were almost famous now—“notorious” might be a better word. Every minute spent in public was a risk.


The Stowaway Solution is the fourth novel in Gordon Korman’s “On The Run” series. Once again the reader is treated to 15-year-old Aiden and 11-year-old Meg’s narrow escapes and hair-raising adventures as they elude the law in order to assist their parents who have been imprisoned for alleged treason.

     This novel centers on the siblings’ flight from a police-infested L.A. in their attempt to make it to Denver where the two believe they will find evidence to support their parents’ innocence. As all airports, train stations and bus stations are being closely monitored, Aiden and Meg hide in a car aboard a transport. They soon find themselves at the port where they stowaway in empty barrels which are loaded onto a freighter bound for Denver. Discovered by the crew, Aiden and Meg manage to escape on a life raft in the middle of a raging storm. When Aiden is thrown overboard, he braves huge waves and frigid waters and eventually washes ashore. He is taken to hospital where FBI agent Emmanuel Harris is waiting to place him under arrest. Meanwhile, Meg paddles to safety aboard the raft, fakes an injury to gain access to the hospital and frees her brother from the long arm of the law. Once again, the brother and sister team are “on the run.”

     Korman continues to captivate his audience and keep them on the edge of their seats. Readers barely have time to catch their breath between suspenseful action scenes. The plot is lightning-fast and the characters likeable. Even though the siblings’ actions seem, at times, outlandish, Korman’s obviously well-researched details add credibility to these scenes. As well, thanks to Korman’s craft, readers are able to identify with the characters and feel their own pulses quicken in synchronicity with their fictional counterparts.

     The only disappointment in this novel is the fact that no new evidence with regards to Aiden and Meg’s parents is uncovered. Though the individual plot of this novel is excellent, it does little to further the grand scheme of the series other than give Aiden pause to think about Agent Harris’ motives and wonder if perhaps there is a chance this arch-enemy may be willing to help them after all. There are no new clues, no tantalizing tidbits revealed, thus leaving this reader slightly frustrated.

     Korman provides enough information for The Stowaway Solution to serve well as a stand-alone read. It is exciting enough to incite readers to backtrack to previous novels in the series.

Highly Recommended.

Marina Cohen has a Master’s Degree in French literature from the University of Toronto and has been teaching in the York Region District School Board for 10 years.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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