Astrid the Unstoppable
Speed and self-confidence, that’s Astrid’s motto. Nicknamed “the little thunderbolt,” she loves to spend her days racing down the hillside on her sled, singing loudly as she goes, and visiting Gunnvald, her grumpy, septuagenarian best friend and godfather, who makes hot chocolate from real chocolate bars. She just wishes there were other children to share her hair-raising adventures with. But Astrid’s world is about to be turned upside down by two startling arrivals to the village of Glimmerdal: first a new family, then a mysterious, towering woman who everyone seems to know but Astrid. It turns out that Gunnvald has been keeping a big secret from his goddaughter, one that will test their friendship to its limits. Astrid is not too happy about some of these upheavals in Glimmerdal — but, luckily, she has a plan to set things right.
A terrific middle grades book
Nine-year-old Astrid is the only child in her Norwegian village, and she's called the little thunderbolt by the adults living in Glimmerdal. The nickname is appropriate; Astrid is a dynamo and she barrels through life with exuberance and heart.
Astrid's best friend is Gunnvald--a 70-something neighbor who is a bit of a curmudgeon, though there's no doubt that he loves Astrid and fully embraces his role as her closest friend.
ASTRID THE UNSTOPPABLE is an incredibly endearing novel thanks in large part to the amazing cast of characters. Astrid and Gunnvald are joined by the other residents of Glimmerdal in this exploration of family, friendships, and secrets. and although Astrid's many adventures are helpful in keeping the attention of readers who crave a lot of action, the focus of the story is relationships--particularly the parent/child relationship.
"Wholesome" is the word that comes to mind when I reflect on this book. Although there are some challenging issues--death and desertion in particular--they're handled with a deft touch. ASTRID THE UNSTOPPABLE would be a terrific book to read aloud, and it offers plenty of opportunities for discussion about those difficult themes. Ultimately, Astrid and the other inhabitants of Glimmerdal are characters who deserve more than one book, and I hope there will be many more adventures ahead for them. Or perhaps a movie? I'll keep my fingers crossed.
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.
Plenty of action