Reviews for Never Say Die

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
Climate change serves as both theme and frequent discussion topic in this purpose-driven survival tale. Nick, half Inuit, reluctantly agrees to accompany his older brother, Ryan, on an expedition into the Yukon's remote Firth River territory to photograph one of the last caribou herds of any real size. Disaster strikes immediately when their raft is overturned by an ice jam--and compounds as the two head downstream in search of their supplies, only to discover they are in prime grizzly country. The trek not only gives them plenty of time to exchange views on climate-related issues but also to experience a violent lightning storm (once rare above the Arctic Circle) and an uncommonly wild gale while also being repeatedly attacked by grizzlies and a huge, aggressive "grolar bear" (a newly emerging hybrid) who has already killed other area visitors. Though plainly intent on delivering the message "the climate has become a beast, and we are poking it with sticks," Hobbs balances info dumps with evocative natural observations and a plot lit up with extremes of privation and deadly danger. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Set in the Yukon Territory, Hobbs's latest turbocharged wilderness survival story has savage river waters, treacherous trails, and, as chief antagonist, a "grolar bear." The polar bear grizzly hybrid attacks our hero Nick in the first chapter and returns in the last for a spectacular confrontation. Hobbs doesn't resist information-packing, but he's brisk about it and knows how to get out of the...LOOK OUT!

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
e-book ed. 978-0-06-222384-5 $9.99

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 5-7--Fifteen-year-old Inuit hunter Nick Thrasher, fresh off a terrifying encounter with a strange bear that seemed half polar/half grizzly, receives a letter from the half brother he has never met. Ryan invites Nick to join him on a photographic journey for National Geographic, rafting down the remote Firth River far above the Arctic Circle. Initially against the idea, Nick finally decides to go at the urging of his much-beloved grandfather, Jonah, who once made the same journey as a young man. The trip proves extremely dangerous, and soon Nick and Ryan find themselves struggling to survive against bears, wolves, and the frozen elements. Hobbs is obviously concerned about climate change in the Arctic. Jonah is mostly portrayed idealistically through Nick's eyes while Ryan is used primarily as exposition or to present an argument on one side or the other in regard to the ecological conditions in the far north. None of this is to say that Never Say Die doesn't tell a good story; much of it is exciting and some of the imagery is truly majestic. It will certainly resonate with kids who have a healthy respect for the awesomeness of nature. The only problem comes when Hobbs veers too far from his story to lecture on the nature of Arctic climate change and its growing effect on the environment and the people who live there.--Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX

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