THIN ICE by Marsha Qualey

THIN ICE

Age Range: 12 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A teenager's stubborn conviction that her brother is still alive carries her past her friends' doubt, the pity of acquaintances, and overwhelming evidence to the contrary in this taut, engagingly cast mystery from the author of Hometown (1995). A decade after their parents' deaths in a plane crash, Arden and her 29-year-old brother Scott have established a comfortable routine in their small Wisconsin town, with Scott the very model of a reliable, conscientious caregiver--though in the wake of a snowmobile accident, he has turned moody. Scott's second snowmobile accident looks fatal--his new snowmobile, helmet, wallet, and other gear, are found at the bottom of a swift river. Then Arden finds a small item in his room that he should have been carrying when he died, and it's enough to make her sure that the incident was staged. Shrugging off school, the skepticism of officials, and the trust of her new guardians, she begins an obsessive search for her brother, or at least for some answers, turning up nothing except the circumstantial but profoundly revealing information that Claire, the woman he had been seeing, is pregnant. Qualey leaves readers wondering until the end whether Arden's belief is justified or just a grieving orphan's desperate fantasy, meanwhile surrounding her with well-drawn, distinctively individual friends and neighbors. In an explosively cathartic climax, Arden spots Scott in a crowd; although she may be more willing to forgive him than readers will, the author gives him believable, if ignoble, reasons for running away, as well as the fiber to return and attempt to make amends for his deception. It's a page-turner, with plenty of surprises and characters who make mistakes but learn from them. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-32298-4
Page count: 261pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1997




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