Hatchet Readalikes

Grade Level Interest
: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.


A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

Eleven-year-old Nhamo lives in a traditional village in Mozambique, where she doesn’t quite fit in. When her family tries to force her into marrying a cruel man, she runs away to Zimbabwe, hoping to find the father she’s never met. But what should have been a short boat trip across the border turns into a dangerous year-long adventure, and Nhamo must summon her innermost courage to ensure her survival. (M)


Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

When Miyax, also known by her English name, Julie, finds herself lost in the Alaskan wilderness without food, she tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves. Accepted by their leader, she soon grows to love her new wolf family. But when she finds her way back to civilization, Miyax is torn between her old and new lives. Is she Miyax of the Eskimos – or Julie of the wolves? (M)


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude—and danger—of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. (M)


Far North by Will Hobbs

When the engine of their float plane fails during a water landing near the head of Canada’s monumental Virginia Falls, what began as a sightseeing detour turns into a survival mission for two high-school students and their elderly companion. (M, S)



Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs

When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to “cross the wire” from Mexico into the United States so he can find work and send money home. But with no money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor must struggle to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert. (M)



The Call of the Wild by Jack London

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike. (A/YA)


Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan

When Perce Blackborow stows away on Ernest Shackleton’s historic expedition to cross the Antactic continent, his thrill soon turns to fear. Within months, the Endurance, trapped and crushed by ice, sinks. And even Perce, the youngest member of the stranded crew, knows there’s no hope of rescue. If the men are to survive in the most hostile place on earth, they’ll have to do it on their own. (M, S)


Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson

Cole Matthews has been fighting and stealing for years. So his punishment when caught is harsh. Given a choice between prison and Native American Circle Justice, Cole chooses Circle Justice: He’ll spend one year in isolation on a remote Alaskan island. In the first days of his banishment, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and nearly dies. Now there’s no one left to save Cole, but Cole himself. (M, S)


Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Alex is home alone when the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away. Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.  When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait – to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano. (S)


Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she struggles to survive as she watches one season pass into another and waits for a ship to take her away. (M)



The River by Gary Paulsen

“We want you to do it again.” These words, spoken to Brian Robeson, will change his life. Two years earlier, Brian was stranded alone in the wilderness for fifty-four days with nothing but a small hatchet. Yet he survived. Now the government wants him to do it again – to go back into the wilderness so that astronauts and the military can learn the survival techniques that kept Brian alive. (M, S)


The Trap by John Smelcer

Johnny Least-Weasel knows that his grandfather is a stubborn old man and won’t stop checking his own traplines even though other men his age stopped doing so years ago. But when Albert doesn’t come back from checking his traps, with the temperature steadily plummeting, Johnny must decide quickly whether to trust his grandfather or his own instincts. (M, S)


Peak by Roland Smith

After Peak is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or to go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. His father wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit—and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it’s also one that could cost him his life. (M, S)


The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Shipwrecked on a tiny Caribbean island, Philip must overcome his prejudice towards Timothy, the old black sailor who becomes the key to his survival. (M, S)