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The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
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's review
Feb 18, 2009

4Q 4P J
The author draws upon historical facts and figures in regards to exploration of the Antarctic throughout the book. The main character, Symone or “Sym”, grows-up emersing herself in information about Arctic exploration, and is most fascinated by Captain Scott’s expedition to the South Pole in 1910. She specifically idolizes and falls in love with Titus Oates who was a member of the doomed expedition, and converses with him in her mind. Sym doesn’t exactly fit in with her peers, and believes that her deceased father never loved her. She thus turns inward and shares her most private thoughts with Titus Oates. Her intellectual “Uncle Victor” has mentored her throughout her life, and suddenly surprises her with a trip to the Antarctic. The trip is not what it appears as her Uncle has his own agenda, and the adventure soon becomes a desperate struggle for survival. Sym must rely on her knowledge and Titus Oates if she is to return from the Antarctic. Teens may at first be hesitant about the length of the book, but the book draws the reader in. It is a complex mix of adventure, plot twists and turns, revelations, historical facts and exploration, and the exotic locale of the Antarctic. The voice of Sym is realistic, that of a teen who doesn’t necessarily fit in, both at school and at home. She quickly finds her strength and will in the Antarctic wilderness. The scope of the book would appeal to both genders. Developmentally, it is a coming of age story, and finding oneself. It will appeal to those who enjoy adventure and exploration. An extension activity may be posting a large map of the Antarctic in the library and tracking Sym’s travels.


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