Red Kayak

Red Kayak

by Priscilla Cummings


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, July 24


Brady loves life on the Chesapeake Bay with his friends J.T. and Digger. But developers and rich families are moving into the area, and while Brady befriends some of them, like the DiAngelos, his parents and friends are bitter about the changes. Tragedy strikes when the DiAngelos’ kayak overturns in the bay, and Brady wonders if it was more than an accident. Soon, Brady discovers the terrible truth behind the kayak’s sinking, and it will change the lives of those he loves forever. Priscilla Cummings deftly weaves a suspenseful tale of three teenagers caught in a wicked web of deception.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142405734
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/06/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 22,819
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.55(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Priscilla Cummings lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

Read an Excerpt

We did not waste time. Crack of dawn the next morning we made our way down to the creek, where a thick mist rose above the still, dark waters. A great blue heron squawked at us for making too much noise and, indignant, took off from a nearby bank as we boarded my father’s boat.

Miss Amanda’s deck was slick with dew. We stepped carefully so’s not to slip as we settled the gear on board.

“Easy now. Remember, this ain’t no hot rod!” Dad warned, handing me the key.

Hot rod. Only my dad would say something like that.

“I’ll be careful!” I called back over my shoulder as I went up front to turn the key in the ignition. Once the engine was running, I adjusted the radar controls on board the boat while my father reached over to the dock and cast off the lines.

“Go ahead!” Dad hollered as he tossed the last line into the boat.

Leaning into the front window, I looked hard to port to be sure I was clearing the last piling as we pulled out.

Dad went to work getting the grapnel hook ready. He didn’t think it was necessary to use the oyster dredger. I was glad, because it would have taken most of a day and a half to get the contraption hooked up. Dad said that if the kayak was still there, we could snare it with the grapnel hook, which was actually an extra anchor he kept on board. It had several pointy flukes on it, so if it caught hold, we could wrap the lines around the machine that acts like a high–powered winch to pull in crab pots and hoist it up that way.

I hadn’t slept much, but I was alert and pumped full of adrenaline. Finding the kayak and getting the truth out once and for all was my mission. It didn’t matter what kids at school thought or what happened afterward. It was something I had to do.

The motor hummed as we moved out, the only boat on the creek. Heavy, gray clouds obscured the sunrise, and a few raindrops already warned us it wasn’t going to be a beautiful day. But I didn’t care. We needed the rain. It was long overdue, I thought, lifting my eyebrows, just as what I was doing was long overdue.

When Dad came forward and took over steering, I went back to sit on the engine box. We entered the Corsica and then went directly to the opposite bank and the opening off the river where I had discovered Ben and where I’d spotted the sunken kayak last April. As soon as I saw the rotten pilings jutting out of the water, the events of last April tumbled forward in my mind and my stomach lurched.

Backing off on the throttle, Dad carefully maneuvered the boat through the narrow channel along the sandbar. Then he threw the boat in neutral and came back toward me.

I stood at the side, staring into the water near the tip of the sandbar. “Right there,” I said glumly, pointing and already disappointed. “That’s where I saw the kayak last April.”

We both leaned over the edge, trying to get a better look. Although it was starting to sprinkle, the water was clear and shallow enough that we could see the sandy bottom. But there was no sign of the kayak, nor any part of it.

The feeling in my stomach got worse. I’d always known there was a good possibility we wouldn’t find it.

“You’re sure it was here?” Dad asked.

“Positive,” I replied. The scowl on my forehead deepened.

“Why didn’t you say somethin’ about it last spring?” Dad asked.

I shook my head. “I didn’t think it mattered then.”

My father didn’t ask why it mattered now. He walked forward to a second set of gearshifts in the back of the boat and moved her up a few feet. Again, both of us peered into the river. But the water was deeper—and darker, too. We couldn’t see a thing. Plus the rain came harder, churning the surface.

“Not the best day to be doin’ this,” Dad commented.

“Please. Can we look just a little longer?” I begged.

Dad sighed. Then he put a foot up on the railing and studied the water. “Brady, isn’t this the old fishin’ hole where you and J.T. and Digger used to come? Place was right smart of fish if I ’member correctly.”

“It is,” I acknowledged. “Remember I told you? We went swimming here, too. On the other side of the sandbar, it drops off big time. Most of that old dock was here then. We could climb up and dive off.”

While he listened, Dad rubbed his chin with one hand, the way he does when he’s thinking hard on something. “This is where she tried to come in, right?”

“Right,” I told him. “She put Ben on that piling—the one right there, but then she got pulled back out by the current.”

Dad nodded. “The tides are strong comin’ in and out of this channel. Especially in the spring.”

“You think the kayak went out with the tide, then?” I asked.

Dad stopped rubbing his chin. He resettled his hat. “Not necessarily. I think what you’ve got here, Brady, is a littoral drift.”

“A literal what? What’s that?”

“Littoral drift,” he repeated. “Look.” He took his foot down, pointed behind us, and swept his finger back and forth. “Tides comin’ in and out this openin’ here push the sand up along the edge, creatin’ the sandbar. But as the waves come around the corner, you get this swirlin’ effect.

It creates a backwater eddy—a dimple, if you will. That would be your swimmin’ hole. I’d wager a guess that if the kayak sank anywhere near that sandbar, it got sucked into that hole.”

“Let’s drop the pole and see!”

“Slow down. We’ve got to move closer to do that, and I don’t want to run aground, Brady.”

Carefully, we inched the Miss Amanda around the sandbar without beaching her until we were directly above the deep water. Dad set out one anchor so we wouldn’t drift and run aground, then he fetched the pole we’d brought along and slowly lowered it into the water to feel around down below.

It didn’t take long. Dad hit something right off. Something hard and long. We pulled in the pole and threw out the grapnel hook, watching the attached rope spin from its coil on the boat floor.

“Whew! Must be fifteen, twenty feet!” Dad declared. He bounced the hook up and down until he felt it catch hold. “You ready we start haulin’ in?”

“I’m ready,” I said.

“All right, then, let’s go.”

Dad wrapped the line around the bar of the machine that pulls in the crab pots and started moving it slowly. It hummed and made a grating noise.

I stood beside my father and waited, holding my breath, until we saw something break through the surface.

It was a grill. Somebody’s damned old Weber grill.

“Must have fallen in off the old dock,” Dad said.

“Shoot!” I muttered.

After hauling the piece of junk over the side, I kicked it.

“Can we try again, Dad?”

A little puzzled, he shrugged anyway. “Sure.”

We heaved the anchor back in. When it landed, Dad pulled up on the line a few times until he felt as though he had hooked something else. Again, the machine did its work. But after a minute or so, it ground to a stop.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Dad shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“Is it too heavy?”

“Shouldn’t be. But maybe,” he said. “If it’s the kayak, it could be full of sand.”

He tried to get the machine started, but no luck. “Here, grab the line and we’ll haul it in,” he said.

I stood behind my father, and each of us got hold of the rope. Then, hand over fist, we pulled. It took all the strength each of us had and then some. I was bracing myself to see a dumb tree branch or cement block somebody had tossed in to anchor a buoy come up. So when I saw the tip of that dirty red kayak break the surface, I was ready to cry with relief.

“Look a–there!” Dad exclaimed. “Be damned!”

Finding it this easy, I knew it was meant to be.

The kayak started slipping, though.

“Don’t let go!” Dad shouted.

I jammed my feet against the gunnels and pulled as hard as I could.

“Hold on!” he shouted.

With one more tug, Dad was able to reach over the side and catch the opening of the kayak with his hands. I did the same, and the two of us pulled with everything we had.

The kayak weighed a ton because it was full of water and covered with slimy mud and algae. But we got it up over the rail.

“Watch out!” Dad hollered.

Jumping back, we let it drop heavily inside the boat.

We were whipped from the effort. Dad sat on the engine box while I knelt on the floor. I tried to catch my breath, all the time staring at the kayak, which had landed bottom up, water and sand dripping onto Miss Amanda’s deck. A tiny crab fell out and skittered into a corner.

The steady, gentle rain felt good on my face. The other thing that rain did, it gradually washed away the gunk from the underside of the kayak. In slow motion, right before our eyes, little rivulets of rainwater pushed aside the slime until we could see, my dad and I, how three holes had been drilled into the bottom.

Dad didn’t say anything at first. He got up, then squatted beside the kayak, touching two of the holes before he looked at me.

He wore a pained expression I’ll never forget. “What is this, Brady?” he asked.

I swallowed hard, and with Dad in front of me, one of his hands still resting on the kayak’s hull and the rain pouring down, I told him.

I told him everything.


Excerpted from "Red Kayak"
by .
Copyright © 2006 Priscilla Cummings.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Red Kayak 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in the seventh grade and i live in washington. im your average prissy stuck up snob, and i absolutely HATE reading. i think its a waste of time and that their isn't one good reason for it. but i was forced to write a report on an adventure/mystery book for school. i just picked this book up off the shelf and didn't even read the cover. it grabbed onto me and i couldn't put it down. i actually got in trouble at school for reading when i was suppose to be working! my friends and parents couldn't figure out what had gotten into me. i LOVED this book and i recommend it to ANYONE. it is a fanomenal book.
BesterReaderEver7 More than 1 year ago
We are currently reading this book in class, and I am loving it. A twisted tale of a boy named Brady who is forced to choose between squealing on his two best friends or forever hold the most dangerous secret ever. I recommend this book to people of all ages. It's filled with mystery and sadness, a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book, becuase of how good the author grabs you and makes it so you want to cry, lauph and feel pitty for the main character. you will feel the same things that the character feels.
Tammy Garrett More than 1 year ago
This book has a asome plot with all of its twists and trunes
Majo12 More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe how good this book was. At the beginning I was like " this isn't very exciting". But then i reached the climax of the story and its like "wow, this is a great book". the author uses amazing resources to make sure it sounds as real as possible, and it really worked. I can really relate to the characters. She puts in lots of details which really makes the story move along nicely. I could not believe how well the story fit together. It was a mystery while it was a breath taking story. It was truly a sad tale, but it keeps you reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
when the red kayak sinks of the Diangalos and they have a tragedy Brady has to choose between friendship and the write thing what will he do read the book and find out o ya it starts out slow but then you cant put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book reading it in english class asked my mom to get it for me so I could get ahead in class. I just can't stop reading it and I am not the type who read all the time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness this book is amazing!! I read it for a book club when i was like ten and loved it!! (Even though it was really sad) this is a must read!!!!!
chickenTM More than 1 year ago
The Red Kayak was a very good book. The book left you wondering what happened next at every turn of the page. It started off with three boys being best friends. Throughout the book their friendship spirals downward as Brady, one of the characters, finds out a horrible secret but is to afraid what will happen if he tells. Brady is concerned about JT and Digger and what will happen to them. This book was surprising and had lots of twist and turns. Everything written in this book leads up to a perfect exciting climax. I would suggest that anyone reading this review should read this book. This book was so good that I could not put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is the BEST book i have ever read! i usually dont like to read but i couldnt put this book down! i give it 100 stars out of 10!!!!!!(if i could)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down-- it was suspensful from beginning to end. Out of all the books I've read (and there have been many), this definitely ranks near the top. I highly recommend this book for school or simply pleasure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't exactly have a passionate love for reading, but this book really inspired me to continue reading. Instead of just turning on the tube.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brady Parks is a 13 year old 8th grade student at Alexander Holmes Middle School, located in Maryland off the Chesapeake Bay. He and his two best friends JT and Digger are caught in a terrible mess when a joke goes bad. Brady's story is full of suspense and surprises. I couldnt put the book the book down. You can really wrap your mind around this heart warming tale of a wonderful young man, who has had his share of sorrow. Will Brady make the right decision?? You'll have to read for yourself. This book is for the young and the oldER (like myself). I'll be reading Saving Grace, A Face First, and Autumn Journey soon. Priscilla Cummings has done a splended job at keeping this YA read very interesting!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Priscilla Cummings masterfully tells a multi-faceted, gripping tale through a 13 year- old boy's eyes.This young man, Brady, the main character and narrator of the Red Kayak talks right from his heart.As readers, we are allowed into Brady's dilemas and heart wrentching decisions involving his two best friends and a serious tragedy. A three year- old in the story made a touching analogy between someone 'justing being mean' and not being a 'bad' person overall.Cummings makes me feel like I could be right there living near the Chesapeake Bay area where fisherman, crabbers, and life on the water intermingle.
jcloke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story, although brutal and very sad, is a good reminder to teenagers of the dangers of pulling pranks. "Red kayak" would be a great read aloud for an intermediate class as it can leads to some very in-depth discussions. The criminal trial is very in depth and offers the reader a chance to be inside a court room through an entire trial.
dahabdabbler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bit too depressing for my taste. Not a book I would ever chose to read with students. The story itself was quite slow through the first half but picked up in the second half.
NickSerra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gr. 6-9. In this satisfying crime and coming-of-age drama, a toddler drowns in a kayak accident after friends of teenage Brady, the victim's neighbor, vent some anger against the child's dad by drilling holes in the bottom of his craft. It was a mean-spirited prank--but no one was supposed to die. What happens now? Revealing the terrible secret would implicate Brady's friends in the drowning, and it clouds his whole world with guilt and fear. Cummings works plot and characterizations skillfully, building suspense as the evidence unfolds and as Brady wrestles with his decision and tries to come to terms with his own responsibility. Brady's eastern-Maryland surroundings and heritage (his father, a waterman, struggles to make a living from crabbing) are also vividly evoked. Brady's ultimate decision is both anguished and well reasoned, making for a realistic conclusion
15pommec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This contemporary fiction is about a 13 year old boy named Brady ad who is a working kid fishing crabs. Tragedy occurs when a red kayak turns over in the bay leaving a small child in the cold waters. With Brady on the rescue team he investigates the cause of the accident, but the result of what he found wasn¿t what he wanted at all. I myself think the plot is very interesting, because there is a mix of mystery in this contemporary fiction, and I really like that part of it because if keeps me interested and excited all the way through till the end. Each and every character in this book have important roles. For example his mother and father have important roles which is to support the main character when he does something wrong. Even his cousin who often drives him to school has an important role. Brady himself I think is quite a bit different from his friends he seems to be the more mature one, which seems kind of out of place for a 13 year old. The pace of the book is a bit too slow for a contemporary fiction but I think it is needed due to the amount of detail the plot has. The message of this book is to say that `do not blame you yourself for things you did not do¿ and a reminder of puling pranks. I recommend this book to children ages 10 and up since it does have a bit of swearing in the book.
NevilShute on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unexpected theme and maturity for a YA book. Think this would be a good book group book. Lots to talk about.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brady has a real dilemma to deal with after he discovers the truth about the sinking of the red kayak and the death of the mother and child in the vessel. I really enjoyed this Caudill book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was great I am so happy I read this. Great book suspensfull, heart warming, and a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Red Kayak This book is about a young boy named Brady and a life changing situation. In this book a person very dear to Brady dies and he finds himself depressed for a while. He spends his days at home doing nothing. When he realizes this he tells himself that he has to pick himself up and do something with his life. Unfortunaly that life changing situation stays to haunt him. I really liked a lot of things from this book. The first thing being that the characters could really be people in the real world. There wasn’t anything super “special” about them. They weren’t rich or famous. They were simply like us. I also liked that this book teaches that you should listen to your heart or at least what you think is right. In this story Brady learns that it is okay to go with your gut and do what you think is right even if you think it will affect your family and friends in a negative way. He learns that not always does doing the right thing have such a bad effect. Another thing that I liked was that it was a quick read. Coming in with 208 pages, I found it to be just right for me. It’s short enough for people who may not enjoy reading or for those who need to read a book before a deadline. I did not like that it could sometimes become boring. It almost seemed as if the author wanted to simply write more for no reason. There was one chunk of the book, that in my opinion, that could have gone unread. This part of the book was the time that Brady was trying to recover from his unfortunate situation. It felt like I was living Brady’s day to day life of staying at home or going to work. In my opinon I thought the author could have skipped this part and carried on with the end. I might feel this way because I can get bored easily when reading books, so I like the action and the constant plot twists. I would recommend this book because it is an interesting story of a tradegy and learning to grow up. It’s a book that helps prove that your actions don’t go unpunished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this read to any middle school student, because it shows that every decision you make affects your future. This book really focuses on the pros and cons of making a big decision that impacts yours and others futures. It's definitely an Adventure/mystery book in my opinion. Throughout the book you get to view the story through our main character Brady eyes, who is a teenage boy with no siblings, The book also focuses on his two best friends J.T and Digger. Digger has a hatred for the DiAngelos, the family that took his grandfather's farm and built a modern home on it. Digger is not allowed anywhere on the property. J.T is not really described same as a lot of the characters, if I could change the book I would put more detail in the characters. Another thing about the book that I enjoyed was that it was fairly short and very interesting in some parts, for example in the beginning when action starts and towards the end when you are on the edge to find out what Bradly future for holds. One con about the book is it's really slow in the middle, and there is really no reason for it to be there, most of it is just the idea of everyday life. Another pro is that any 13-14 year old can really compare themselves to the book. For example brady’s decision about telling the facts he is finding out or whether not to tell someone what he now knows. So in conclusion this is rather short book with some very intense and rushing moments towards the beginning and at the end. Although you could read the beginnings, skip the middle and read the end, the book really shows a lot about growing up and doing the right things. Over all this book was a seriously good book and I will have walked away with a new understanding of myself and my decisions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brady, a thirteen year old boy, is supposed to be enjoying his summer before eighth grade. His hobbies usually include oyster and crab fishing with his friends. Instead, he ends up pondering over several dreadful decisions when he finds a horrifying clue to an unsolved mystery. After the kayak incident, Brady begins to work for Mrs. D'Angelo, a victim to unfolding crime. The several pros in this book easily outway the drawbacks. The first thing I really like is how the author annotates the adventure at the beginning of the story. It is quick paced and makes you feel like you are in the action, with your heart pounding and body chilled by the frigid water. A second thing I would complement on is the diversity of characters. Brady, the main character in the book has two friends, one with parents that abuse each other and another whom has an ailing father with a warm farm family. I think that the variance of characters and personalities in the book makes this a pleasing read for everyone. The last part that I really enjoyed about the story is the length of the chapters. For me, they were a perfect length to read before bed. Sometimes the book was so suspenseful that I had to double up and finish two. On the other hand, I did find a couple things that bothered me. The book never says what happens to the Di Angelos after the couple goes through a very depressing time. Another part I wish the author added was an epilogue that explained what happened to the boys after the story was ended. The last part I would change in the book is to remove the bland section in the middle of the book and add action there. Between about page fifty and one-hundred sixty, there is almost no conflict. Overall it was an intriguing book with many compliments and very few complaints. I think teenagers and adults alike could make connections to Brady’s life and become well attached to the plot. This will be a suitable read for anyone who wants page-turning realistic fiction and mystery book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this book the benefit of the doubt, but it still was dull. I hope I am not alone, but I read to leave Earth. Give me Solo, give me Gandalf. But not a cruddy court case, I want spaceships and f*ing splosions not a kid with an emotional disorder, and the crime was as easy as an episode of Scooby Doo, but less fun.