Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ice Dogs, by Terry Lynn Johnson

I know, I know -- it's May. Winter was long enough! But I just have to squeeze this one in.

Fourteen-year-old Victoria is one of Alaska's top junior mushers. She takes after her father, an award-winning musher who taught her everything she knows and who tragically died in a wilderness accident the previous year. Her mother, on the other hand, doesn't understand the love for dogsled racing.

So when Vicky qualifies for a big race, considers a new lead dog for her team, wants to look at the dogs her neighbor has for sale, and Mom turns thumbs down, Vicky hitches up six of her dogs and goes anyway. It's only thirty-five miles, and she'll be back by afternoon. Except she's hit by an unexpected blizzard. That, and she finds an injured boy about her age who has crashed his snowmobile. The extra passenger weighs her sled down,  knows zero about the wilderness (having just moved from a big city), and is unwanted company in any case, but in trying to bring him home she gets hopelessly lost. The rest of the plot follows the humans and dogs as they fight to survive the all-but-unsurvivable.

The emotional story progresses, too, as Vicky slowly discovers that a greenhorn city-slicker might have some value as a human being after all, comes face to face with the way her father died, connects with her dog team in an even deeper way than before, and begins to imagine and have compassion for what her mother is going through now that she, too, is missing in the Alaskan wilderness during a terrible storm. Victoria is a prickly, snarky character whom I didn't always like, but found fully believable. Definitely recommended, especially for readers who love action but prefer some depth along with it.

20 comments:

Leandra Wallace said...

I really enjoyed this, there were some lines in ID that really spoke to my love of sarcasm! Though I am super glad we're done w/snow here. =)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I've heard only good things about this book. It's on my list. Thanks for the review!

Barbara Watson said...

This is on my to-read list! Action with depth -- sounds perfect to me.

Marcia said...

Leandra -- We were just in Indy. Last Saturday we wore capris, short sleeves, and no jackets!!! We're a few weeks behind that here. But I expect we're done with snow too. We'd better be, anyway.

Ruth -- Really, I'll read about any season in any season.

Barbara -- I bet you'll love it.

Dawn Malone said...

I love books that pull off the action and emotional depth well. So many lean either one way or another. It sounds like a book that would appeal to all readers in that age group, too. I'm always looking for dog books, as I know a few kids who crave them. Adding it to my list - thanks, Marcia!

Mirka Breen said...

I was waiting to read this when the cold was behind us and the hot weather took over, not that we have extremes here... A compelling story all the way, and marvelously suited for both genders for all the reasons you brought out in your review, Marcia. Kudos to Terry Lynn Johnson for bringing this one home.

Vijaya said...

I'm still waiting for this one ... Thanks for another thoughtful review.

Faith E. Hough said...

I loved this, too!

Marcia said...

Dawn -- You're so right about kids who crave dog books! I'm sure they'll enjoy this.

Mirka -- That's a good point about both genders.

Vijaya -- You'd love it even in July. :)

Faith -- Great minds. :)

Andrea Mack said...

Wow! I wanted to read this before but your review has clinched it! Ordering it tomorrow!

LD Masterson said...

I'm captivated by the dog's face on the cover. Oh, and the story sounds great, too.

Marcia said...

Andrea -- That's great!

LD -- I've heard others say that, too. Covers are powerful, no doubt about it.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Sounds like a book that kids can't help but love.Thanks!

Bish Denham said...

I read this book too and thought it quite believable!

Marcia said...

Joyce -- I'm hearing that a lot of kids love it.

Bish -- I agree.

Kelly Hashway said...

That cover! I can't stop staring at that dog. ADORABLE!

Marcia said...

Kelly -- I think the dog's expression is a real draw.

janet smart said...

I read this one, too. I loved it!

Marcia said...

Janet -- I think that's a very popular opinion!

cleemckenzie said...

Haven't read this one yet. I have it marked on a list. Now all I have to do is find that list. :-)