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Never Say Die
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
January 29, 2013
ISBN
978-0061708787
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When the motto of your village is "never say die," you have a lot to live up to. . . .

At home in Canada's Arctic, Nick Thrasher is an accomplished Inuit hunter at fifteen. About to bring home a caribou for his ailing grandfather, Nick loses the meat to a fearsome creature never before seen in the wild. It's half grizzly, half polar bear. Experts will soon be calling it a "grolar bear."

Returning to his village, Nick receives a letter from the half brother he's never met. A former Grand Canyon river guide, Ryan Powers is now a famous wildlife photographer. He'll soon be coming to Nick's part of the world to raft the remote Firth River in search of huge herds of migrating caribou. Ryan also wants to learn what Inuit hunters are saying about climate change in the Arctic. He invites Nick to come along and help him find the caribou.

Barely down the river, disaster strikes. Nick and Ryan are both thrown into the freezing river and find themselves under a ceiling of solid ice. With nothing but the clothes on his back and the knife on his hip, Nick is up against it in a world of wolves, caribou, and grizzlies. All the while, the monstrous grolar bear stalks the land.

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Survival in the Arctic

Nick enjoys his life in the small Canadian Arctic Inuit village of Aklavik, but things are changing. His grandfather, Jonas, is dying of cancer, the herds of caribou are decreasing rapidly with the warming weather, and Nick is attacked by a strange and ferocious bear that is a cross between a polar bear and a grizzly. When his half brother, Ryan, wants Nick to go on a wildlife photo shoot with him, Nick isn't sure he wants to go. Jonas convinces him that he can hang on long enough, and that he would like to hear about Nick's adventures in the wilderness. Ryan has done a lot of wilderness traveling for his job as a photographer, and this latest trip is for an article about the changing climate in the Arctic and how it is affecting the wildlife. Nick is definitely interested in this, and appreciates how sensitive Ryan is to the difficult issues in his life. The two set off for a remote area only to have their raft overturn a few miles into their journey. They manage to survive the freezing water, horrific mosquitoes, and lack of supplies and find their raft, only to have to battle grizzlies, the "grolar" bear, and the worst storm the area has seen in years. This is certainly the trip of a lifetime, and Ryan and Nick not only bond, but find out alarming facts about the affect that climate change is having on this area of the world.

Good Points
Like all of Will Hobbs' books, this was exceedingly well researched, set in a real place, and discussed in just enough detail problems that exist in the area. I like how Hobbs manages to advocate for the protection of the wilderness while being entertaining rather than preachy. There is lots of action and adventure in this one, and is a great additional to any list of survival stories. Nice inclusion of Inuit lifestyle-- there's a part of the world not often covered in literature!
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