15-year-old Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the luxury airship Aurora. While on lookout duty, he spots a hot-air balloon in distress, and rescues the elderly balloonist. Matt listens to the old man describe fantastic winged mammals he claims he saw near a tropical island, but the teen thinks he is delirious. A year passes, and wealthy young Kate De Vries, the balloonist's granddaughter, arrives on board the Aurora with the intention of proving the animals exist.
Matt, dealing with his own disappointment at being passed over for a promotion in favor of the son of the Aurora's owner, is skeptical at first, but becomes involved in Kate's search after reading the old balloonist's diary. Matt and Kate find more than they bargained for in their quest for the mysterious creatures. Edge-of-your-seat action, complete with pirates, narrow escapes, unforgettable characters, and a touch of humor will keep the pages turning until the very end. Readers will definitely want to read more about Matt and Kate, and they won't be disappointed--there are two more books about the adventurous teens: Skybreaker and Starclimber. 368 pages
Recommended by Basya Karp, Librarian