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FROZEN STIFF by Sherry Shahan

FROZEN STIFF

By Sherry Shahan

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-32303-4
Publisher: Delacorte

Two inexperienced kayakers are trapped in the Alaskan wilderness by a freak of nature in a patchy but vivid survival adventure. Cody and her cousin, Derek, sneak out for a weekend of camping while their mothers are away in Juneau; when the Hubbard Glacier “surges,” blocking outflow from the Russell Fjord, a rapidly rising water level catches them by surprise, washing away Cody’s kayak and nearly all of their supplies. After an unsuccessful attempt to paddle back to their starting point leaves them wet, hungry, exhausted, and, in Cody’s case, snow blind, a mysterious, masked woodsman brings food before luring Derek away. Cody follows, attempting to save Derek from danger, only to learn that he’s gone along willingly with a reclusive ex-guide (and his wife) whose face was ravaged by frostbite on Denali; they feed the children and lead them to a point from which they can kayak to safety. The “abducting” of Derek (planned so Cody would follow) is never explained satisfactorily, and a heavily foreshadowed run-in with bears remains a tease. Still, the action is rapid and mostly realistic; Shahan describes the natural beauty, as well as the mud, mosquitoes, and other miseries her young people encounter, with authority. (Fiction. 10-12)