Ice Island – Sherry Shahan

Tatum’s father competed in the Jr. Iditarod in his youth and she desperately wants to follow in his footsteps.  The story opens with Tatum watching for racers to cross the Iditarod’s finish line in Nome, Alaska, and being given one of her favorite sled dogs from her friend.  She and her mother and the sled dog head off to an isolated island to tend to a friend’s lodge for a week.  While there, Tatum meets Cole, a Yupik boy training for a sled dog race.  While on a training run with Cole that was supposed to be just a few hours, they end up across the island when a blizzard barrels in.  The training run turns into a fight for survival against high winds, heavy snow, and dangerously cold temperatures.  This is a very good adventure survival story that so vividly describes the sub-zero conditions, I snuggled a bit deeper into my electric blanket while reading.  The author has thoroughly researched the story and has sprinkled facts and information about the Iditarod, Alaska, Yupik traditions, and sled dog racing.  The facts could be imparted a little more subtly to the reader, but it certainly did not get in the way of the story and I did learn a lot.  Ice Island is less than 200 pages making it the perfect length for those wanting a heart pounding adventure survival story.  Plus, I really liked Tatum and Cole.  They are kids and they made mistakes but did their very best and kept their heads.  Best read in the heat of the summer to counteract the shiver factor.  For more information about the Iditarod:

NetGalley review  Publication date  01.10.12  (Good timing! Before the Feb Jr. Iditarod and March Iditarod)

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