The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast


A terrible roar shook the whole forest. The boy dropped onto his knees and slammed his hands over his ears. But it was too late. The sound had crawled inside his brain, echoing on and on and on.

Gusts blew up around him, tossing and tumbling the Green Wall. On top of the roar, squeals and squawks raced into his ears, and creaks and cracks darted straight to his heart. The boy curled up tight, held out his stick and opened one eye. It was there.

It stood tall between the trees.

Hunched on its two back legs.

Shrouding the boy in its shadow.

It was like the boy had imagined—the body of a huge bear with the head of a terrifying wolf—but it was worse. It towered over him, black hair tinged with gray ruffled in the wind. Muscles rippled under its skin. Ears twitched at every noise. And a scar weaved across its face.

The beast had fought before.

And it had won.

Long, shining claws, ragged from destroying prey. Yellow teeth, sharp, dripping with drool. Bright green eyes that glowed and stared through the boy.

“No,” the boy whimpered. “Please, no.”

The beast stretched out its paws, its knuckles cracking.

“Once upon a time,” the boy whispered, “there was a boy who saw the biggest beast in all the land, and the boy…” The beast snorted, his teeth bared. “…RAN!”

The boy scrambled up and fled as fast, shoving branches away from his face. He didn’t follow a path, but ran wherever the trees where thickest, so the beast couldn’t see him. Wind shrieked around him and he pushed against it to keep moving forward, to escape.

He ran and ran and ran. Until his breath was heavy and his feet were sore. He ran until he couldn’t hear anything except his own heartbeat pounding in his ears.

He slid behind a thick trunk and peered all around.

The beast was nowhere to be seen. Not a hair. Not a footstep. Not a drop of drool. It hadn’t come after the boy, or he had outrun it. Either way, it wouldn’t kill him now. He was safe.

But for how long?

‘You’re never going to be safe. You’ll always be afraid.’ The boy had known the bully wouldn’t stay silent for long.

“I…just…saved…you…from…the…beast, didn’t I?” the boy said, each word coming out between ragged breaths. He bent over, holding his shaking hands against his belly.

‘It’ll find you. A beast like that will be able to smell you and hunt you down.’

Gulping more air, the boy straightened and tried to build up his courage. “I’ll run to the Umbrella Beach. It won’t catch me.”

‘You see any sign of a beach around here?’

His shoulders slumped. He didn’t want the bully to be right, but all he could see were trees. He couldn’t even hear the crash of waves on the shore. He couldn’t be near Umbrella Beach yet.

And worst, the sky was starting to darken.

Had all this been a mistake? Would the beast have come after him if he’d stayed on the beach? Was he right to follow the light?

Uncertainty pressed against his gut; he wished there was some way he could know for sure.

Then a twinkle flickered at the corner of his eye and his heart flew. Perhaps the light had come to find him again.


By Samantha M. Clark

Published by Simon & Schuster

ISBN-13: 9781534412552

Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

The Graveyard Book meets Hatchet in this eerie novel about a boy who is stranded on a mysterious beach, from debut author Samantha M. Clark.

A ten-year-old boy washes up on a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited beach. Who is he? How did he get there? The boy can’t remember. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. The boy’s journey is a struggle for survival and a search for the truth—a terrifying truth that once uncovered, will force him to face his greatest fear of all if he is to go home.

This gripping adventure will have readers hooked until its jaw-dropping and moving conclusion. Samantha M. Clark’s first novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice.

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Make Your Own Courage


Samantha M. Clark has always loved stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. After all, if four ordinary siblings can find a magical world at the back of a wardrobe, why can’t she? While she looks for her real-life Narnia, she writes about other ordinary children and teens who’ve stumbled into a wardrobe of their own. In a past life, Samantha was a photojournalist and managing editor for newspapers and magazines. She has lived in a land of rainforests, the land of the Queen, two Caribbean islands, and now lives with her husband and crazy dog in Austin, Texas (the land of the weird). Samantha is the regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and explores wardrobes every chance she gets.