Author: Gary Paulsen
What To Read Next: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Think back to when you were 13. Now, imagine that you're on a plane headed to your father when the pilot suffers a heart attack. The plane crashes, but you survive. You're stranded with nothing but the gift your mother gave you for your birthday: a hatchet. Because, what else would you give a 13-year-old? Call of Duty? No.

Brian, the hero of Gary Paulsen's novel, find himself in just this situation, and instead of panicking, crying, and giving up, he decides to own the wilderness. He learns how to build a fire, eats turtle eggs, and fights off bears. And that's all before the tornado shows up.

An adventure novel of the highest order, Hatchet was the first entry in a successful series from one of YA's most beloved authors.

The moral of this story? Check the plane before you head off with just your birthday present.