Book Review of Expedition to Blue Cave (Outriders)

Expedition to Blue Cave (Outriders)
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Reviewed by Grandma Bev for

Blue Cave got its name from the rare bioluminescent plankton that makes the whole cave light up with a wonderful blue glow...but it only happens once every seven years. If the Outriders are going to be able to see it, they must do it now. Cam Walker and the kids he hangs out with call themselves the Outriders, and they hate to be bored.

Expeditions require money and equipment, but that's no big problem. Cam manages to raise most of the Outrider's funds by "farming" golf balls...that is, searching the perimeters of the local golf course for lost balls, and selling them for twenty-five cents each to a guy who sells them back to the golfers. As the story opens, Cam is in the process of outrunning and outsmarting the guys at the golf course after he snatches a golf ball that is still in play. It's a close call, but he's good!

The equipment is usually "salvaged," or borrowed without permission of the owner, and then returned in the same condition. The big problem for the expedition to Blue Cave is to free Shelby from summer school and Schooltastic!, so that she can go, too. Shelby's parents are super-diligent at keeping track of Shelby, and this scheme requires careful planning and precise execution. Cam's schemes are outrageous, but what fun! They manage to spring Shelby from Schooltastic! and scavenge a variety of boats, canoes, and kayaks to go to the cave, which is twelve miles across open sea.

When they arrive at the cave, they discover that two people are already there, and they are burying a mahogany box that Cam recognizes as an antique golden sextant that belongs to the town's richest man, the eccentric Mr. Thorpe. He owns the most elaborate estate on Surf Island -- The Falcon's Lair. The kids know that it has been stolen. Now they just need to get it back and return it to Mr. Thorpe. But when the crooks kidnap Shelby's little sister, and the ransom is the golden sextant, the excitement kicks up a notch.

The Outriders conduct their excursions and put their dangerous plans into action without adult supervision. As Cam states in the story, "When we set our minds on something, we don't ask anyone's permission, we just DO IT." They do things that are definitely not parent approved and in some cases are illegal...stealing equipment, riding in the back of a pickup, overhauling a cell phone to obtain free service from the provider, and taking kayaks and canoes over twelve miles of open water. If kept in the right frame of mind as fiction, this is exciting reading that will especially appeal to boys.