Lost in the River of Grass

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

“I don’t realize I’m crying until he glances at me. For a moment, I see the look of anguish in his eyes, then he blinks it away and slips off into the water. I immediately think of the gator. It’s still down there somewhere. . . .”

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an air boat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Young Adult
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 264
Publication Date 2012-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.6
Text Type Fiction—Action/Adventure
BISACS YAF001020, YAF058220, YAF058190
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 750
ATOS Reading Level 4.4
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 141647
Accelerated Reader® Points 8.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, and Reviewed

Author: Ginny Rorby

Young adult novelist Ginny Rorby is the author of Dolphin Sky (Putnam, 1996), Hurt Go Happy (Tor Books, 2006), The Outside of a Horse (Dial Books, 2010) and Lost in the River of Grass (Lerner Books, March 2011). Dolphin Sky was nominated for the Keystone Reading Award. Hurt Go Happy was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Scholastic Book Fair selection, has been nominated for reading awards in six states, and won the ALA 2008 Schneider Family Book Award. The Outside of a Horse is a Scholastic Book Fair selection, and Lost in the River of Grass is a Junior Library Guild selection. Ginny was raised in Winter Park, Florida, and lived in Miami during her career as a Pan American flight attendant. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Miami, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her goal, after wrapping up her flying career and her graduate studies, was to move someplace where she would never be hot again. She now lives on the chilly coast of northern California with her thirty-year-old parrot and way too many cats. Ginny was co-director of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference for nine years and continues her involvement with this 22-year-old institution. She served as President of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society for seven years, was on the board of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, is past president of the Point Cabrillo Lightkeeper's Association, and continues to serve on the PCLK board of directors.


  • Florida Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, Winner, 2013
  • Truman Readers Award Nominee, Nominated, 2012
  • Westchester Fiction Award Honorable Mention, Runner-up, 2012


The ALAN Review

“With the relatable character of Sarah, this novel of suspense with intermittent spurts of humor leads you through the marshes in a way no school field trip ever could.” —The ALAN Review

School Library Journal

“Factual details about local flora and fauna make this more than just a survival story, creating an intimate portrait of the Everglades.” —School Library Journal


“This book will appeal to survival and wilderness story enthusiasts.” —VOYA


“Like many adventure and survival novels for teens, Lost in the River of Grass is also a coming-of-age story, as Sarah gains immense knowledge about herself and her capabilities in a short, intense time period. In addition to outlining this profound personal growth, author Ginny Rorby also introduces readers to the bizarre, almost otherworldly environment of the Everglades, a place readers may even beg to visit—but not without a big can of bug spray and some sturdy waterproof shoes.” —BookPage


“In this authentic survival adventure…it’s the identity questions as much as the taut rescue story that will resonate with readers.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Wildlife and vegetation are vividly described; Sarah’s fear is palpable in scenes of near-disaster, and readers will cheer when she and Andy make it safely out of the swamp after five days…. Rorby cleverly offers only subtle hints that Sarah is African-American and Andy is white until late in the story, adding depth to this survival story framed within the story of an outsider.” —Kirkus Reviews

Jeff Klinkenberg

“Ginny Rorby writes with a terrific sense of place. Her Everglades are my Everglades and I felt like I was standing next to her in the swamp as I read her terrific novel.” —Jeff Klinkenberg

Jeff Klinkenberg

“Read this novel by Ginny Rorby if you’re not brave enough to step into the Everglades with the snakes and the gators and the skeeters and the feeling that, geez, you might be lost. She writes with a powerful sense of place. I’m really impressed.” —Jeff Klinkenberg