Title: Ice Dogs
Author: Terry Lynn Johnson
Pub. Date: February 4th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Teenager Victoria Secord loves racing her sled dogs. It helps her feel closer to her dad, and get in touch with the Alaskan outdoors that she adores so much. But one routine outing, she finds herself lost while trying to help out a young stranger named Chris. Together, and with the dogs of course, they must find their way back and survive the food, the wilderness, and the wicked Alaska cold.
First of all, look at this cover. It's mesmerizing. I am a big fan of huskies and wolves, so the cover alone drew me in at first glance.
This is a very vividly written story. I've never been to Alaska, but I felt that I had competed on the track alongside Victoria, and had been in the wilderness with her and Chris. Additionally, I have only ridden on a dogsled once, and it was a tourist attraction at an ice festival somewhere in Michigan. Therefore, my knowledge of the sport is essentially nothing. That being said, Terry Lynn Johnson did a great job in her description. I never felt lost or confused with Victoria's dogsled jargon or explanations about her skills and know-how.
Going based off of that, I didn't always care for Victoria as a character. I completely understand why she is written the way that she is, and it's not poor writing or character depth on the author's part. I just found her a bit too snarky at times, and I never completely connected with her. It didn't hinder my reading experience all too much, in the grand scheme of things.
All in all, I think this is a great book for middle-grade aged kids that love animals. It's educational about dogs and sledding, and gives a clean and intriguing story of survival. Honestly, it put me in mind of a book I read when I was in elementary school called My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen. So if you or your child loves dogs, animals, or nature, this is definitely a good book choice.
Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Books for Children for my copy.