Julia's Reviews > The White Darkness

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
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Feb 27, 2009

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Read in February, 2009

This was a very good book from a literary standpoint. It is however, not a "fun" read. It is a Printz award winner for the best book of the year for young adults, and deservedly so.

It is a tale of a teen from England who gets taken on a surprise trip to Antartica with her uncle. Symone's (Sym) story quickly turns into a survival tale, as she deals with an increasingly manic uncle.

What helps Sym get through is her imaginary relationship with a long dead artic explorer. This character is more real to her than most of the people she is traveling with.

Sym is (justifiably) very naive about what is acutally happening during this trip. She fails to question her "genius" uncle when the spontaneous trip to Paris (which her mother missed because of a lost passport) turns into an Antartic expidition. She blindly accepts all the assurances of her uncle, even as they become more suspect to a reader. On one hand, Sym's cluelessness is irritating. On the other hand, as we learn more about how Sym's uncle has manipulated her all of her life with an increasingly disturbing series of lies, her ignorance and the choices she makes because of it become plausable.

Eventually, pulling on strength she didn't know she had, Sym opens her eyes to her uncle's maniacal plans. She is able to resist him, and more importantly, survive the Antarctic expidition.

In many ways, Sym's uncle is one of the most disturbing characters I've encountered in a long time. Sanity of all the characters is in question throughout the tale. It's an excellent read, but not one to pick up in a blue mood.
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04/03 marked as: read

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message 1: by Ara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ara Hanissian I agree that Victor is a very disturbing character. The plot turned very chilling when all of Victor's manipulations were revealed. He was very nonchalant about killing people for the sake of science. I also noticed some foreshadowing regarding Victor's murder weapon of choice, teabags. "Uncle Victor's tea bags caused a stir at customs in Buenos Aires. The guard dogs patrolling the Nothing-to-Declare area took a keen interest"

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