Half-Inuit Alaskan Nick, 15, finds adventure with his older, white half brother Ryan on a National Geographic photographic expedition in Yukon Territory.
Nick’s discovery of a grizzly/polar bear hybrid at the very outset of the book sets the stage for a nonstop survival adventure. Extremely aggressive and predatory, the 900-pound bear becomes a symbol of the frightening consequences that occur in the wild due to human meddling in the environment. On the expedition, one possible disaster after another occurs, and Nick and Ryan have to cope with them all, relying on knowledge of the terrain and the best survival techniques of both cultural heritages. Narrator Nick’s voice is consistent, befitting his upbringing in the small town of Aklavik. The geography of the area and climate are well-delineated, becoming an integral part of the story. The final confrontation is a bit far-fetched, but readers who have stuck with the story that far will likely not care. “Man vs. nature” is a recognizable subgenre of adventure stories, but Hobbs skillfully inserts an eco-conscious twist, asking readers and characters to recognize that in this case, “nature” is man-made.
Solid adventure fare. (Adventure. 11-16)