Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Set in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1970s, this lyrical debut follows four teens whose stories gradually converge through a well-plotted series of loves, tragedies, and adventures. Dora only wants to find a safe home and loving family, but when good fortune strikes, it may be her downfall. Ruth misses her parents and hopes to escape the harsh life she has endured with her Gran, but a relationship with a popular guy at school might not be the escape she needs. Stowing away on a ship proves dangerous for Hank, who seeks a safe haven for himself and his brothers, and Alyce must choose between her love of dancing and her father's expectation that she continue to spend summers fishing with him. Using alternating narratives, debut novelist Hitchcock deftly weaves these stories together, setting them against the backdrop of a native Alaska that readers will find intoxicating. The gutsiness of these four teens who, at heart, are trying to find their places in the world and survive against challenging odds, will resonate with readers of all ages. Ages 12-up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
In 1970, a decade after statehood, the difficult lives of four Alaska teens are transformed when their paths intersect. Growing up poor is tough anywhere; it has its own flavor in Fairbanks. Raised with her younger sister by their grimly religious grandmother, Ruth is isolated and unprotected. For Inupiat Dora, life improves when she's informally adopted by a kind Athabascan family, but although her violent, alcoholic dad's in jail, she still feels unsafe. Alyce, whose parents have separated, lives with her mother in Fairbanks, fishing with her dad in summer. She wants to audition for college dance programs and that means staying in Fairbanks, disappointing her dad. Fleeing a troubled home, Hank and his brothers sneak onto a ferry heading south; then one disappears. The Alaskan author depicts places and an era rarely seen in fiction for teens: shopping for winter clothes at the Fairbanks Goodwill, living in a summer fish camp on the Yukon River and on a small fishing boat. All benefit from her journalist's eye for detail. Though compact, the novel features a large cast of sympathetic characters. At first somber but resonant, the plot eventually veers onto a different course. As the tone shifts to highly upbeat, outcomes feel pat, rewards unearned. The effect is to gloss over and minimize the aftereffects of childhood poverty, fractured families, and domestic trauma. The talented author and original subject matter largely counterbalance missteps. (Historical fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Descriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service.