B.T. Clifford's debut novel, Oliver Stanton and the Josephine Key is a good adventure story. B.T. has hit the right notes for that age group. Oliver has lost his parents and now must grow up with family he never knew he had, and they don't give him any time to adjust to doing so in the fast paced, short novel.
While somewhat light on the emotional recovery of Oliver's life-changing events, the adventure story holds enough thrills and chills (and creepy bugs--I hate scorpions) to keep the younger set engaged with the story and wanting more. The road trip for the Josephine Key provides Oliver with ample opportunities to act or not act on his internalizations with regard to establishing himself with his new family. The adults' actions are at times as reckless as what one would expect of teenagers, but that is the essence of adventure--barreling forward without caution--putting Oliver in good company.
I don't read much YA literature, so some of my expectations probably exceed those of the younger set; however, I hope that the next adventure, and I'm sure there will be one, digs into the overall story aspects a bit deeper than this one to give some subtext that might be appreciated on another level. For me it is a top-notch 3. For the targeted YA audience (boys in particular), expect a solid 4-star read.