Official Review: Life On Base: Quantico Cave

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any young adult books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Include the name of the book, and if possible the author's name, in the title of the topic. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
Post Reply
User avatar
Tanaya
Posts: 795
Joined: 30 Mar 2015, 13:22
Favorite Author: George Orwell
Bookshelf Size: 85
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tanaya.html
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham
fav_author_id: 1746

Official Review: Life On Base: Quantico Cave

Post by Tanaya » 31 Jan 2016, 17:05

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Life On Base: Quantico Cave" by Tom and Nancy Wise.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Life on Base: Quantico Cave is a young adult novel by Tom and Nancy Wise. It takes place in Virginia and tells the story of Stephen, a twelve-year-old boy who lives on a military base with his parents and sister. Stephen’s aspiration is to grow up to be in the Marines, just like his father. Speaking of which, daddy issues unsurprisingly abound in this short novel, including mentions of abuse and alcoholism.

While there is an underlying focus on parent-child relationships, the main focus of the novel is on Stephen, his friend Jimmy, and a boy named Rick. Rick is a new arrival from Stephen’s old neighborhood in California. The animosity that Rick feels toward Stephen turns into its own sort of war. They get into a physical fight early on in the story, and the animosity progressively escalates in terms of violence, tension, and rage. While these children certainly have emotional issues, they still are just kids: playing ball together, having sleepovers and exploring the base to keep themselves occupied.

The story is told in the third person and occasionally changes perspectives between Stephen, Jimmy, and Rick, though Stephen is the protagonist. There are a few brief flashbacks that add depth to the characters and that help to explain their fears and motivations. The most distinguishable aspect of the writing style is how character-driven it is. Stephen essentially hears his father’s voice in his head, particularly when he has to make a decision. He seems to almost constantly be wondering what his father would think of him in any given situation and how he should react based on the things his father has told him.

The authors very convincingly convey what it’s like to live on a base as a young person. Given the setting, readers that are unfamiliar with military life certainly learn quite a lot about the social climate. The nature of friendships among kids on bases is quite interesting, particularly due to the non-permanent nature of their living situation. Additionally, their interactions with one another are affected by their parents’ ranks in the military. Many such things are explicitly explained in a mostly smooth fashion to provide a thorough sense of what this lifestyle is like.

There were some aspects of the novel that didn’t quite work for me. As the story progressed, some elements of fantasy emerged. This included a weird scene that took place in a cave and a strange dream sequence that felt a bit forced and read awkwardly to me. I suppose I wanted the story to stay more grounded in reality, given the initial set-up of the novel. I also thought that some background characters, such as Stephen’s sister and father who seem to be quite important to him, should have been more present in the actual story so the reader could get to know them better. Even so, I did think that Stephen’s mental preoccupation with his father was very effective.

All in all, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I thought there were some missed opportunities given the subject matter and the established relationships that were talked about but not always fully expanded on. Overall, I found the twisted themes about family, honor, and friendships to be rather fascinating. I would recommend this book to those who want to learn more about children’s experiences living on military bases.

******
Life On Base: Quantico Cave
View: on Bookshelves

Like Tanaya's review? Post a comment saying so!
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham

User avatar
chytach18-
Posts: 405
Joined: 18 Jul 2015, 10:17
2017 Reading Goal: 24
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 0
Favorite Author: John Fowles
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 3">Strange Case of Dr Jekill and Mr Hyde</a>
Currently Reading: Dark Corners
Bookshelf Size: 98
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-chytach18.html
Latest Review: "Smiling Exercises, and Other Stories" by Dan Malakin
fav_author_id: 2947

Post by chytach18- » 01 Feb 2016, 10:12

Tanaya, you wrote: "There were some aspects of the novel that didn’t quite work for me. As the story progressed, some elements of fantasy emerged. This included a weird scene that took place in a cave and a strange dream sequence that felt a bit forced and read awkwardly to me. I suppose I wanted the story to stay more grounded in reality, given the initial set-up of the novel". I wonder if the writer wanted the book fit into the most popular genre for young adults, which is fantasy. I personally like realistic young adult stories about real young people. I think this story is just like that.
Your review is awesome, though.
Latest Review: "Smiling Exercises, and Other Stories" by Dan Malakin

User avatar
Tanaya
Posts: 795
Joined: 30 Mar 2015, 13:22
Favorite Author: George Orwell
Bookshelf Size: 85
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tanaya.html
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham
fav_author_id: 1746

Post by Tanaya » 01 Feb 2016, 14:09

Thanks for your comment. I think it's just a matter of personal taste, and I'm sure many readers (especially young adults as you mentioned) would find those moments enjoyable. Every reader is different!
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham

User avatar
kimmyschemy06
Posts: 2429
Joined: 20 Oct 2015, 20:49
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 22
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 168
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Currently Reading: Third Chances
Bookshelf Size: 584
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kimmyschemy06.html
Latest Review: Spyder Bones by Oliver Phipps

Post by kimmyschemy06 » 02 Feb 2016, 05:35

Given the realistic setting of the story, I think the fantasy part would be a down side for me as well. However, my teenage daughter might find it perfect :D Great review!

User avatar
ashley_claire
Posts: 377
Joined: 03 Mar 2015, 03:13
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 15
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 128
Favorite Book: The Prince of Tides
Currently Reading: Red Rising
Bookshelf Size: 152
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ashley-claire.html
Latest Review: The Markov Encryption by David N Robinson

Post by ashley_claire » 02 Feb 2016, 07:24

Nice review! Sounds like a nice change of pace from the typical young adult novel that everyone seems to be writing right now. I think the narration switch between characters gives this book a really interesting perspective.

User avatar
Rachaelamb1
Posts: 984
Joined: 07 Mar 2015, 01:58
2017 Reading Goal: 60
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 25
Favorite Author: CS Lewis
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... onwitch</a>
Currently Reading: Falling Star
Bookshelf Size: 128
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rachaelamb1.html
Latest Review: "Dragon Born" by Ela Lourenco

Post by Rachaelamb1 » 03 Feb 2016, 07:14

I like fantasy a lot, but if the story starts out realistic, I prefer it to stay there. Otherwise the fantasy element just seems out of place.
Latest Review: "Dragon Born" by Ela Lourenco

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7952
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 06 Feb 2016, 12:44

Great, balanced review. The premise of the story sounds interesting. I like that you were able to state what didn't work for you in a tactful way, while still highlighting the wonderful parts of the book. Nice job!
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
bigirimanacelestin
Posts: 147
Joined: 17 Dec 2015, 02:35
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 92
Currently Reading: Toni the Superhero
Bookshelf Size: 328
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bigirimanacelestin.html
Latest Review: The Different Kinds Of Monsters by Seth Chambers
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by bigirimanacelestin » 13 Feb 2016, 03:47

Great annotated review. The story sounds good.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

User avatar
KeriCraven
Posts: 142
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 20:35
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 13
Bookshelf Size: 31
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kericraven.html
Latest Review: "Life Before" by K.L. Romo

Post by KeriCraven » 12 Oct 2017, 10:23

Nice review. This sounds like it would be a breath of fresh air for the young adult genre. Thank you for your review.
Latest Review: "Life Before" by K.L. Romo

User avatar
Job Njoroge
Posts: 170
Joined: 20 Jun 2017, 09:35
2017 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 66
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 43
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-job-njoroge.html
Latest Review: "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" by William Combs
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by Job Njoroge » 15 Oct 2017, 09:33

This is a great review though am disappointed that the author tried to introduce fantasy later on when it was not part of it at the start
Latest Review: "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" by William Combs

User avatar
Mercy Bolo
Posts: 1194
Joined: 31 May 2017, 03:44
2019 Reading Goal: 144
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 2
2018 Reading Goal: 48
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 118
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 10262">The Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching</a>
Currently Reading: Burn Zones
Bookshelf Size: 191
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mercy-bolo.html
Latest Review: Find Him! by John B. Michaels

Post by Mercy Bolo » 27 Oct 2017, 11:37

I've always wondered what life on military bases is like. Although the authors had a great idea, this could do with a little more editing.
"The minimum requirement for a dream is a safe place to lay your head."
~OluTimehin Adegbeye

Post Reply

Return to “Young Adult Fiction Books”