MG, Action and Adventure
IF I STAY meets HATCHET. Thirteen-year-old Bryce steals a hand-drawn map from Grandpa's barn and realizes it's a map of the trail, cabin, and lake they'll backpack to. He's determined to find what's hidden at the end of the map, but he'll have to risk keeping secrets from Grandpa to find it. On their journey, Bryce and his big brother, Jack, are separated from Grandpa and must work together to survive the wilderness . . . and each other while hunting for what's at the end of the map and uncovering a painful secret that explains the root of their tension. But when a horrible climbing accident leaves Bryce unconscious, Jack must find a way to save him, and Bryce must choose life over afterlife or their family's secret will never see the light of day.
A blue plastic bin sat all alone behind the rows of boxes. I knelt and slid the bin toward me thinking it was weird that it wasn't labeled carefully like everything else. I popped the lid off and fingered through hanging files full of papers and bills, bummed not to find anything interesting.
Just as I started to replace the lid, I noticed a small wooden box tucked behind the folders. I pulled it out and flipped up its golden clasp with a click. A few pictures and a folded piece of yellowed paper lay inside. That was it? I'd come all the way to the back of Grandpa's mouse-turd-infested barn loft for a bunch of old pictures?
I unfolded the paper and saw a hand-sketched map of a river, a house, and a lake with a small 'x' drawn by the lake.
Just then, the spiral staircase to the loft creaked and groaned. “Bryce, you up there?” Grandpa yelled.
I jumped up, stuffed the map and pictures in my back pocket without thinking, and shoved some boxes around the bin to hide it.
“Yeah,” I shouted, stepping over a stack of newspapers. “Coming!”
Grandpa's head peeked up just as my toes reached the edge of the stairs, and I tried to slow my breathing.
“Whatcha up to?” Grandpa asked.
“Uh, you know, doing a bit of treasure hunting.” I tried to sound casual while the pictures and map burned in my back pocket.