Monday, February 4, 2008

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

I am so glad I'm not on the Printz award committee. Why? Because I never would have agreed to give this year's award to Geraldine McCaughrean for The White Darkness. The award is given to a book for literary excellence, and I just don't think this young adult novel cuts it. But, then again, I can disagree with the committee. And I know there are people out there who love this book, and I'm glad. But I don't. I wanted to stop reading it. It was boring to me. I kept thinking, yep, she's cold and in Antarctica, and it stinks. Whoopee. I know, I know, I should go on about the brilliance of the literary descriptions, and the extraordinary details of the setting, and blah, blah, blah, but I don't look for that stuff in a young adult novel. I just want a good book that I can read in one sitting. To me, that's a good book. This one I read over several days and had to force myself to read it. That's not a good sign. I've had this book for a few months now and it has been checked out once. By me.

Sym is a fourteen-year-old girl who takes off on a strange vacation with her pseudo-uncle. Next stop, Antarctica. Sym knows all about it because she is well-read on the subject. And her imaginary companion is the legendary Titus Oates, who died on the Ice years ago. That's right; she's in love with a dead man and pretends to talk to him. Her uncle is crazy, but she doesn't notice it until she's been with him on the Ice for a few days. Her naiveté (did I spell that right?) is a turn-off for me. She's 14 going on 9. She falls in love with a young man on the expedition and her imagination helps her survive.

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