Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Brian is excited about the prospect of visiting his father for the summer while his dad is working on some of Canada's oilfields. But when the pilot suffers a heart attack the small Cessna plane carrying Brian crashes in the wilderness on a small lake. After swimming to shore and getting over the pity he has for himself, Brian suddenly realizes he is alone with nothing but the clothes on his back and the hatchet his mother gave him before he left. This stark realization begins the terrifying account of Brian's struggle to brave unfamiliar land, hunger, animal attacks, unpredictable weather, and the oncoming of winter. At 13 years of age, Brian learns much of what it means to be self reliant and a survivor. It will have you addicted until the very last page. Recommended for all ages.
Prince Across the Water by Jane Yolen and Robert Harris
Young Scottish Highlander Duncan, 13, is angry. He wants to follow the call to join his clan, the MacDonalds, in following Bonnie Prince Charlie to victory for Scotland against England. But his age and seizures keep him from fighting. Instead, his father allows Duncan, accompanied by his grandfather, to travel to the meeting place of Scotland's clans before they travel to war. When they arrive, Duncan sees thousands of Highlanders willing to fight, and the desire to fight infects him. Once home, Duncan must shoulder the duties of his father, face death, battles, and other torments. But he knows he must fight with the Prince and the MacDonalds. Soon he cannot take it anymore, and he runs off to join his clansmen and follow the Prince. Duncan soon finds himself in the middle of Scotland's bloodiest battle, the Battle of Culloden, which is vividly portrayed in all the grit, blood, and spirit a reader would expect of 18th century Scotland. Recommended for all ages.