Genre: YA Literature, Survivalist Literature, Fiction
Synopsis: Sloan is terrified of being by herself. One morning, she wakes up and finds that her family–and the whole town of Rusic–has gone to the next town over to vote. “It’ll be just for a day,” a note from her father reads. She’s nervous, but discovers she’s not alone: the boy who found her in the woods all those years ago and his dog and drunken father, a 10 year old with a rocky family life, her school teacher, and Mrs. Wade, who is seriously injured and needs medical attention. However, a blizzard’s coming, and the only way to get to the next town is by taking a boat. But how are they supposed to make it to the river when all the wolves are getting hungrier with each minute that passes?
Review: I read this book within 24 hours, snuggled up on our recliner with a cup of coffee in my hands. This well-researched book easily entranced me. The first thing that caught my interest was our main character, Sloan. She has abandonment issues, stemming from the fact that her mother left her family only two years prior. She’s half-deaf. And she most certainly does not want to talk about when she was found alone in the snow.
This book is fast paced and action-packed. There are injuries, deaths, cliffs, wolves, cracking ice, and the looming threat of starvation and frostbite. How will they survive? Who will survive? And what will come of the wolf that Sloan mildly identifies with? Will she find the ring? Will she go to Anchorage? Who knows? Not me!
This book was also very well thought out. After the novel, there’s an afterword written by the author about how she visited a wolf sanctuary to research how wolves could become a predator for humans, given the right conditions. Added to the survivalist story is a layer of how humans have put themselves right in the middle of this predicament. It’s this addition of self-awareness that adds to the internal struggle of this survivalist novel.
Besides simply surviving, there’s also romance, friendship, and family drama that comes about in a very appropriate way. And what I mean by appropriate is that this is a middle-school level book–no love triangles here!
The only reason that this gets a 4 1/2 stars (or a straight up 5, if you’re reading this on Goodreads) is because there were some things left unanswered, and I can’t personally decide if I love it or feel as though it’s incomplete. Either way, it was completely purposeful, and not accidentally left open-ended. I love realistic endings, I love open endings, but there were some things that I truly wanted to know about that weren’t resolved. And maybe that’s okay. What matters first and foremost is the characters’ safeties.