The White Darkness

by Geraldine McCaughrean

Socially awkward Sym is a fourteen year old with an unusual obsession. She is fascinated... read more

Socially awkward Sym is a fourteen year old with an unusual obsession. She is fascinated with the Antarctic, to the point of relying on an interior dialogue with Captain Titus Oates (a deceased member of Scott’s Antarctic expedition) to guide her through difficult moments. When Uncle Victor, a family friend, arranges for Sym to accompany him on a trip to the South Pole, she is initially dazzled by the amazing gift of a visit to destination about which she has always dreamed. Although Victor’s manipulations will make readers immediately wary of his intentions, Sym’s naïvete and single-minded interest allow her to disregard these warning signals. Victor’s behavior becomes increasingly peculiar, until even Sym is forced to recognize that his motivations lie beyond the scope of anything she—or the reader—could have imagined. Exceptional writing and careful characterizations combine in creating a creepily bizarre—yet believable—plot, set amidst the isolating landscape of the Antarctic. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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