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Hatchet (Brian's Saga #1)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  219,980 Ratings  ·  9,795 Reviews
Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his estranged father when the pilot of his small prop plane suffers a heart attack. Brian is forced to crash-land the plane in a lake--and finds himself stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present before his departure.

Brian had been distraught over his parents' im
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Richard Jackson Books (first published November 1st 1986)
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Rachel Frost Well, in a way yes and no. Brian lives in the Canadian wilderness next to the lake where his plane crashed but, he doesn't live IN the plane because…moreWell, in a way yes and no. Brian lives in the Canadian wilderness next to the lake where his plane crashed but, he doesn't live IN the plane because his plane sunk to the bottom of the lake. Hope I could help. : )(less)
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Community Reviews

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May 10, 2007 Rachel rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one. This is the worst book I have ever read.
So when I was in the 7th grade, Mrs. Randall (formerly Sr. Mary Randall, an ex-nun) FORCED this pile of garbage upon me and the rest of my unsuspecting classmates. I was an advanced reader and it was a relatively short, easy to swallow book but it took me FOREVER TO READ IT. because it was THAT FUCKING BORING. It's about this stupid snot of a kid whose parents are getting divorced (mom and dad broke up! boo-hoo :'( i'm scarred for life now!) and somehow his plane goes down in the wilderness of C ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Faith rated it did not like it
Though the story was compelling, very compelling, compelling enough that I finished it despite the compelling urge to throw it out the window, I don't think I could ever read it again. The window, oh the shiny window, the shiny open window was very tempting. This book was so repetitious, why so repetitious, I know not why this book was so repetitious, but the repetitions made me want to pull my hair out. My brown hair, the brown hair on my head, the hair that was brown that was on my head.

I did
yes yes yes!! thank you to all the goodreaders who recommended this to me after my love for island of the blue dolphins became known. it turns out i love survival stories!! with teens!! and i wish i could say i never tore my eyes from the page and read this in an hour, but i have been having a distractedish day today; emailing my dad for fathers day (everyone: call your dads!! or if they are at work, email-chat them!) and then there was a fire across the street from me (which is my number one al ...more
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars I forgive you for eating the turtle eggs, Brian.

Read for our classics readalong series! Discussion next Friday 5/29 on the blog.
3.5 Stars

Just're 13 years're riding shotgun in a Cessna......your pilot is suddenly unconscious. What do you do?

After the crash, young Brian Robeson has a big problem, much bigger than his secret. In shock, without food or water and alone in the north woods of Canada, he had only his wits and a hatchet as survival tools.

Brian comes face-to-face with some pretty scary and dangerous creatures of the night.....and day....that made for a great learning experience for

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Nov 09, 2011 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of survival novels
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: A member of the Action/Adventure Aficionados group
I have to be honest. At first I was having a serious 'really?' moment as I started listening. The 'really?' was because this is a three-time Newberry Award winner, and I thought the prose was way too repetitive. The same word would be repeated three times. The same sentences twice. I was steeling myself to keep listening and hope it got better. It did. By the end of this novel, I totally realized why it is a Newberry Award winner.

Hatchet is a story of survival. The protagonist is a thirteen-year
Daniel Lowder
Sep 18, 2007 Daniel Lowder rated it did not like it
What I learned from Hatchet:

1. If you see a man grimacing in pain, it could be a heart attack. If this man is the pilot of a charter prop plane that you're flying alone in, you could be fucked.

2. If you eat mysterious berries, they just might give you severe diarrhea. And, having just been marooned in a plane crash, you could lack the proper facilities to expel the diarrhea within. So, you could end up shitting your brains out in a cave. Since the tender age of 9, when I glanced upon the pages o
Nov 02, 2007 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: freshmen1
basically, Biran is the main character in the story, he is getting on a plane to go visit his father; his parents are divorced. he also has a giant burden on his back, his mother was having an affair.
before he leaves , his mother gives him a hatchet. after, he sets off, he talks with the pilot and has a little fun by piloting the airplane swerving and swoppoing up and down. until suddenly, the pilot has a heartattack becasue of gas and dies. brian is forced to fly the plane himself, but until t
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
The writing just flows and you're constantly worried about Brian. Having to survive with nothing else but a hatchet and the clothes on your back can't be easy. I loved seeing how innovative his brain worked. Making tools from his environment. It was super impressive for a thirteen year old boy. I practically flew through the pages.
May 17, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-my-youth

Seriously, I read this maybe in fourth grade? It was definitly in elementary school, because I remember it was at the same time that we we doing "survival skills"* in Girl Scouts. Not that I ever wanted to be trapped by myself in the wilderness, but I spent a lot of my time in my backyard pretending to find flint with my sister, and starting imaginary fires to keep warm. In winter we dug ourselves igloos. I always went camping with my parents, so this book started a lot of Q&
Jan 03, 2008 Hank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boys and tomboys the world over (and any adult counterpart suffering nostalgia)
My first foray into childhood favorites for one unlikely-to-succeed purpose: converting my brother from books about Harry Potter to books about anything else, in the world. Any suggestions?

When I first read Hatchet, at around ten or twelve, I devoured it time and time again. The idea of learning wilderness survival with nothing but a hatchet and my own wits prickled the pores of my baby-smooth chest with visions of man-hair, tufts and tufts of it, more than I knew what to do with, for after fini
Max Stone
Oct 28, 2007 Max Stone rated it really liked it
(fwiw this is a book I read my kids aged 6-10)

I'd give this book 3.5 stars if I could. Basically the stuff which makes it a classic and is indeed very good is the adventure/survival stuff (he is the sole survivor of a plane crash deep in the woods and has nothing but a hatchet). Both the details of what he is doing to survive, and the psychological changes he goes through in his attempt to survive are believable, interesting, and illuminating.

There is a second thread in the book which is him pro
Sep 13, 2012 Chynna rated it did not like it
Hatchet is a book about a thirteen year old boy, Brian Robeson, who goes through many experiences that ultimately gets him stranded in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. His only two survival tools, his mind and a hatchet, which was a present from his mother. Throughout the book, we learn all of the different ways how Brian learns to adapt to his new and unfamiliar surroundings.

My thoughts:
Hatchet is probably the worst book I have ever read, and I have read a lot of books. The only reason wh
Jul 03, 2011 Monique rated it it was ok
I will be honest: I didn't really enjoy this book. And I even had high expectations because it's the recipient of the Newbery Honor.

I had just read “The Life of Pi” a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely despite its otherwise relatively boring, dialogue-less narrative – one that can be expected from a book about a shipwrecked teenage boy (albeit with a Bengal tiger for company). This children's book, Hatchet, had a similar plot: thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson was on his way to see his father
Daniel Bastian
Sep 07, 2015 Daniel Bastian rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"There were these things to do."

After being ambushed by a porcupine, bulldozed by a moose, ransacked by a tornado and ceaselessly blitzkrieged by mosquitos, chances are superlative that I'd have thrown in the towel and ceded Mother Nature its victory. Not so for Brian Robeson, who taps into unprovenanced reserves of resilience in the wake of each setback. Stranded following a crash landing in a remote stretch of forest south of the Canadian border, teenaged Brian must make do with little more th
May 09, 2010 Madeline rated it it was amazing
Friggin' awesome. My 3rd grade teacher read this book aloud to my class, a chapter a day, and I remember being absolutely enthralled every single day. She read it to us right before first recess, so whenever that day's chapter ended with a cliffhanger we had the whole recess to discuss what we thought was going to happen next (and act out our own renditions of the time Brian got attacked by a bear).
Kyla Harris
Plot - 14/20
Characters - 15/20
Creativity - 15/20
Writing - 16/20
Pace - 8/10
Ending - 8/10
76/100 = C+
3.5/5 stars

I enjoyed this book but it wasn't anything special in my opinion. I read this because one of my school friends said it was his favorite.. ever so I had to give it a go! Wasn't bad but didn't blow my mind or anything. I was completely content in putting and down to do other things, wasn't gripped at all... wait on second thought Brian ends up dropping the Hatchet in the water. That sen
Jul 18, 2011 Wesley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series_favorites
Ok, so I first read this book in December of 1994 over my 4th grade Christmas break. I think the last time I read it was before I became a dumb-ass teenager in 1999 (early). I’ve always been partial to the woods. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing whether it’s hunting, fishing, camping, trapping or just sitting in them, I want to be in the woods. It’s where I want to retire and die if I get the choice. I love nature, I’m pro-nature and Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president, his love and what he ...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
A story of a boy that survives a small plane crash into the wilderness. The pilot (and only other person on the plane) had a heart attack and died. Every struggle and triumph are fascinating. A must read for young readers. One of the books I will never forget.
Apr 21, 2014 Shan rated it it was ok
I think I'm being generous with my rating of 2 stars. know what, sometimes I feel like being nice. Only sometimes, though.

I first read this when I was in 6th grade (Mr. Tietze's class, *holla*). I think I liked it but I don't really remember. So, since Mr. Tietze was the best teacher I've ever had, that is the reason for me being generous in terms of this rating.

Since re-reading it, I realize how stupid this book is. It didn't make sense. Why on earth would a mom give her 13 year old s
J.G. Keely
Gary Paulsen writes in only two emotions: fine and vomit-y. Someone may want to tell him that there are other ways to provoke a response in a reader than going right for the gut, so to speak. This book could have done with some fear and suspense, perhaps some gratification, depression, or joy. I do not mind a tragedy, nor do I balk at watching the man beaten down. I am a fan of Chekhov's.

If your idea of suspense is mosquito bites on your nipples, meet your Stephen King.
Alissa Patrick
3.5 Stars

This was a re-read of a book I was forced to read in middle school. I recall liking it but not remembering too many details. Reading it as an adult, I definitely think it's a great book and a good adventure story.

To Build a Fire Meets Castaway (minus Wilson) is what was running through my mind as I'm reading this story: 13 yr old Brian is in a single-engine airplane on his way to his father's for the summer when it crashes into the Canadian wilderness. He is all by himself with nothing
Feb 07, 2014 David rated it did not like it
So when I added this, I vaguely recalled the title, and I swear, I have definitely read it, but what I thought it was about was a boy being stuck under the snow following an avalanche (it turns out the book I was thinking of is apty named Avalanche by Arthur Roth) but anyway, that's not what it is about, and I really don't remember this book at all.

Hatchet I definitely read in middle school at the instruction of my librarian (we had a sort of once-weekly class in the library to introduce us to t
Shruti S
Jan 10, 2013 Shruti S rated it it was amazing
HATCHET by Gary Paulsen

Brain doesn't think his life will ever be the same after his parents get divorced but his life is about to take an even bigger twist as the plain he is on crashes into Canadian wilderness. alone in the wild, stranded on a piece of jutting out land Brain will try his hardest to survive. Throughout the book I admired his constant positive attitude even when he felt like giving up because without it he would have been dead. It was amazing to read about the number of ways Bra
Aug 14, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngfolk
I finally read it! When I was a librarian, I used to recommend it all the time and bullshit those kids into thinking I'd read and loved it. It was pretty good!

Phew. What put off children's classic should I tackle next?
Damian Acosta
Sep 29, 2015 Damian Acosta rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mc Mac McDougall
Jan 14, 2008 Mc Mac McDougall rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone its a very good book
Recommended to Mc Mac by: a teacher
This book is the Hatchet written by Gary Paulson. It is about a boy who goes to see his dad in Canada for a trip but things go terribly wrong. He is in a bush plane when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Brian is forced to fly and land the plane on an L shaped lake. He has to face the wilderness on his own for a long period of time. Some of the problems he faces is getting food from the wilderness. At first all he has is his hatchet and the cloths on his back but after a while he starts ki ...more
Feb 15, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: Steven Wren
Shelves: young-readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Awards Won: Newbery Honor (1988), William Allen White Children's Book Award (Kansas) (1990), Young Hoosier Book Award for 6-8 (1991), Buckeye Children's Book Award for 6-8 (1991), Massachusetts Children's Book Award (1995), Flicker Tale Children's Book Award (1990), Sequoyah Book Award for Young Adult (1990), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (1989), Virginia Readers' Choice for Middle (1989), Golden Archer Award (1989), Soaring Eagle Book Award (1997)

This is an excellent book for b
Lily Koh
Jan 15, 2016 Lily Koh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book over and over several times and I still think this is a wonderful book. The story is about a boy named Brian Robinson who was traveling on a plane to go to his father. It was his first visit after his mom and dad has divorced. But, the pilot got a heart attack and Brian was left alone up in the air on the plane. Brian steered it and landed on a lake. He got out of it and he slept. He would have to survive with a hatchet which his mom had given him as a present, tennis shoes ...more
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Do you think this is a good book? 113 366 Jan 10, 2017 02:34PM  
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Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve
More about Gary Paulsen...

Other Books in the Series

Brian's Saga (5 books)
  • The River (Brian's Saga, #2)
  • Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3)
  • Brian's Return (Brian's Saga, #4)
  • Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga, #5)

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“Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience - waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.” 179 likes
“He did not know how long it took, but later he looked back on this time of crying in the corner of the dark cave and thought of it as when he learned the most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn't work. It wasn't just that it was wrong to do, or that it was considered incorrect. It was more than that--it didn't work.” 90 likes
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