Never Say Die
Fifteen-year-old Nick Thrasher is an Inuit (some people used to say Eskimo), living in a village named Aklavik in the Arctic. His family survives as his people have for centuries, hunting caribou, seals and whales for food, though now they use guns and snowmobiles instead of spears and dog sleds. Life in the Arctic has always been challenging, whether keeping a sharp eye out for bears, both grizzlies and polar, battling the dangerous weather, or finding enough food to keep from starving. However, changes are occurring throughout the world, changes which are especially noticeable in the Arctic. This is being called Climate Change, and it’s affecting the weather, the ice and the animal populations. One day Nick comes face to face with one huge glaring example --- a bear cross between a grizzly and a polar bear. And that bear is one grumpy fellow! Nick barely escapes with his life!
"NEVER SAY DIE is an awesome and exciting adventure that both kids and adults will love!"
Then out of the blue, Nick receives a letter from his half-brother whom he’s never met. Ryan lives in Arizona and will be driving up to Nick’s neighborhood on an assignment from National Geographic. Ryan invites Nick to join him on the three week adventure of rafting and hiking in the wilderness while he attempts to photograph huge herds of caribou. At first, Nick refuses. He doesn’t know Ryan, and more important, his beloved grandfather is dying and Nick doesn’t want to leave his side. But when his grandfather finds out about this opportunity, he urges Nick to go to see these beautiful herds before they too disappear.
Almost right from the start, the brothers encounter dangerous trouble. Their raft flips over and the guys are dumped in the freezing water and soon trapped beneath a thick sheet of lingering ice. Somehow, both guys manage to escape the ice, but end up on opposite sides of the raging river with all of their food and gear on the now missing raft. This is only the first of many terrifying challenges the brothers encounter on their quest. Raging weather and hungry predators will also threaten their lives. And then Nick and Ryan come face to face with Nick’s old friend, the angry grizzly/polar bear cross, and it will be a fight to the death.
Will Hobbs is the successful author of many books, and his newest one, an adventure in the dangerous Arctic is another winner. He tackles many worthy themes, including Climate Change and the struggling wildlife. Another interesting theme includes the differing points of view between the brothers. They come from two very different backgrounds, one an environmentalist and the other a surviving native; one shoots wildlife with a camera, the other shoots wildlife with a gun for food. But both deeply love and respect nature. Will Hobbs also loves and respects nature, and this is obviously displayed throughout the pages with beautifully vivid descriptions. NEVER SAY DIE is an awesome and exciting adventure that both kids and adults will love!
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 7, 2013