Arctic Thunder by Robert Feagan
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Age Level: 12+
Source: For honest review from publisher.
Synopsis via Goodreads
Mike Watson's team has just won the Alberta Bantam Provincial box lacrosse championships. The euphoria of victory and plans for next season are short-lived when Mike's father, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is transferred to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
The transition to life inside the Arctic Circle is a tough one. With temperatures of -30 Celsius, a hulking monster named Joseph Kiktorak threatening him at every turn, and not a lacrosse ball in site, Mike's resentment at moving north escalates.
As his friendships with local youth develop, Mike is introduced to the amazing spectacle and athleticism of traditional "Arctic Sports." When his father witnesses the natural talent of Mike's new friends, the idea of an Inuvik lacrosse team is born! With hearts full of desire, the motley group of athletes heads south to participate in the Baggataway Lacrosse Tournament, and to face Mike's former team, The Rams.
Going in to Arctic Thunder, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. When I accepted it for review I thought it sounded pretty good and Dundurn has never done me wrong before so I thought, "Why, not. It's something different." I was not prepared for how much I was going to truly enjoy this novel.
Mike was a very relatable protagonist and I found that I was able to connect with him effortlessly. While at times he seemed like your typical fourteen-year-old boy, at others he was very mature for his age and that provided a level balance that I could appreciate. When Mike is forced to leave behind everything he knows and loves, he reacts and handles things like most any kid his age would. He started out angry and resentful, longing to be back home, but when he took the time to really get to know and understand the people and area around him, he slowly grew to love his new home. Now I'd like to talk about Donnie, Mike's first friend in Inuvik. He's a bit of an outcast, somewhat geeky, but he's also a total riot and very lovable kinda guy. Donnie was the perfect friend and my favorite supporting character. Then there was Victor, one of the wisest elders in Inuvik, whom really advised and supported Mike in everything he was dealing with. Unlike in a lot of YA books these days, Mike's parents were blatantly present, and his dad especially played a major role. There was also Gwen, Joseph, Tommy, Mark, and others that were all great supporting characters that contributed to the development of the story.
Arctic Thunder focuses primarily on self discovery and relationships between family and friends versus romantic ones and I always find this aspect refreshing when I happen across it. The dynamic incorporation of sports, both Lacrosse and Arctic Games, really helped build and strengthen the plot in a way that I was surprised to find how much I loved. There was also an inspirational type quality to this book and one thing I noticed was that Arctic Thunder often emphasizes the importance of not judging people before you get to know them. Not in a preachy way, but rather in a way that simply added depth and quality.
Feagan's writing style has a very obvious air of authenticity and it is clear that this is an author who knows exactly what he is talking about and has experienced the majority of the situations in Arctic Thunder. Just from reading his short bio on the back of the book, I was able to draw parallels between Mike's life and Feagan's. Also, the writing was beautifully paced and the dialogue believable and often humorous.
About the only thing remotely negative that I could say about the ending would be that it did seem a touch rushed. Aside from that, I feel that Feagan gave Arctic Thunder the best possible ending and I found myself very pleased with it.
All in all, Arctic Thunder was a quick, fun, and compelling read that caught me off guard by it's greatness and depth. It's a wonderful coming-of-age story and I think it would be a perfect read for boys ranging from middle grade to early teens. However, I still believe that this is a book that a wide variety of people could get enjoyment out of, unless you totally despise sports or something. I mean, after all, I'm an 18 year old girl and I really liked Arctic Thunder. This is definitely a book I'll be reading again in the future and I look forward to more of Robert Feagan's work.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010
Arctic Thunder by Robert Feagan
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 12/09/2010 08:44:00 AM