Books, Reviews

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

One of the main benefits of reading for the Cybils Awards challenges was picking up books that I might or might not have picked up by myself. Today’s featured book, Christina Soontornvat’s All Thirteen, is one such book. I might have very likely picked it up because of the author. I had previously read her ‘A Wish in the Dark and fell in love with her writing. On the other hand, this book covered an event that I was not sure had enough for its’ almost 300 pages, so I did not know that I would have picked it up if not for the Cybils. And I am so grateful I did!! It wowed me, and Soontornvat amazed me all over again (I might repeat myself in the review, so apologies in advance)….

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Anyways, here is my review for

The Book

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

Book Info

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

Title: All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team
Author: Christina Soontornvat
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Culture, Teamwork (All ages)
Publisher: Candlewick (October 13, 2020)

What It Is

A tribute to all the people who played a part in the incredible Thai cave rescue in June 2018, and to the boys as well as their coach. Soontornvat takes you right to the action, and lets you relive it second by heart-pounding second in this amazingly detailed and from-the-heart account of the rescue.

The How (I Felt)

This book is as incredible as the rescue it talks about. Like with her first book, I was reluctant to set the reading aside even when I had to.

Christina ensnares and captures us, the readers, from the very first page. We start from before. We learn about the boys themselves, their lives, and their dreams; and then follow them on their trip to the cave on that ill-fated day. And we watch as they realize they are trapped, as their families realize what has happened.

What follows is one of the most amazing rescue operations, masterfully told by Soontornvat, as she seamlessly shifts the narrative between those inside the cave, and the world outside. Despite knowing how it all turns out, readers will stay on the edge of their seat from start to end. I loved how she includes everyone: the villagers who donate their time and efforts and supplies, the sump divers who rescue the boys, the special forces from around the world, as well as the boys and their families, and so many others who were part of this operation.

Diagrams and details, photographs, maps, testimonies, and other etcs, placed strategically throughout the book wonderfully supplement this stellar work of nonfiction. In addition, Soontornvat also touches upon the geography and science of caverns, Thai culture and national as well as international politics, Buddhism, immigration issues, the fascinating world of cave and sump diving, and more; as well as their impact on this rescue.

The must-read backmatter includes an author’s note, annotated source notes, a bibliography, and index.

Perfect Pairing

Marc Aronson’s Trapped about the rescue mission of Chilean miners in 2010 for young readers; Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

I am yet to read these books; but have added them to my TBR and will hopefully get to at least one of them this year.

In Summary

Get It For Yourself and Read It Now….

Get It Here

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All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read this book? If yes, your thoughts on it? If not, did you follow the events of this book when they happened? And if not, please do not waste any time getting the book for yourself and reading it now. As always, any and all thoughts and recommendations for similar books are welcome

46 thoughts on “All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

  1. This sounds like an incredibly written piece. Just the thought of being in a cave is enough to make me panic. I cannot imagine!
    Your review was fantastic, thank you for making me aware of the book.

  2. How I remember that nail biting rescue! I didn’t know there was a book out bit I’m definitely going to read it! I cried when I watched how they were trapped and cried more when they all came out of the cave!

  3. Nice review! I remember this event and the rescue itself is so tedious. The rescuer is so brave and never gives up until every kid is rescued.

  4. Wow! Have I been living under a stone? I am ashamed to say that I never heard of this. I will love to learn more about this horrific event. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I haven’t heard of this book but it definitely sounds like one I wouldn’t be able to put down. Thanks for the rec! I’m adding it to my list.

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