Who wouldn’t want to find something earth-shatteringly unique while on an Arctic expedition?
Itching to make a discovery of her very own, 13-year-old Maya Parson, whose anthropologist mother is often away on another continent doing fieldwork, finally gets to accompany her woolly-mammoth–expert dad on a foray into the icy wilderness. She soon discovers there are backroom politics to the project, including the designs of a resident billionaire funder, his snarky, filmmaking nephew, some distinguished-but-vaguely-suspicious scientists from Russia and Japan and a kindly anthropologist with a son the same age as Maya. When an unexpected discovery is made, Maya is right in the thick of it, trying to prevent the Russian scientist from cloning the newest finding. Meanwhile, the classic myth of Icarus figures heavily into the picture, with its themes of seeking freedom from captivity and the dangers of not heeding parental warnings when it comes to the perils of flying too close to the sun. While Quimby’s plot is exuberantly fast-paced and earnest, the first-person narration occasionally strains the believability of a 13-year-old’s voice. Limited character development leads to some cartoonish players who fail to evolve, yet readers who fantasize about testing their mettle in the icy wastes will still happily tag along for the ride.
Both inventive and contrived. (Fantasy. 9-13)