Monday, November 10, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Ice Dogs

I’ve been waiting for my library to get this book for a very long time! It was well worth the wait. I enjoyed this book so much I’ll probably buy a copy for myself.

Here's the description from Amazon:

Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

The author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself, and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson, Houghton Mifflin, 2014

My Take:

This book was fast-paced and the action kept me wondering whether Victoria would survive. I also liked the storyline that followed her growing friendship with the “city boy” and how the two of them learned to get along as the story developed. Even though Victoria is 14 and this is listed as YA, I think it’s a good read for older MG students, especially if they are interested in dogs or survival, with a touch of romance.

The author was so successful at bringing the setting to life using details and lovely language! As a writer, I’d read this again to study the language and how every word counts.

Opening Line:

“All eight of my dogs are stretched in front of me in pairs along the gangline.”


“I see the cloudless night sky lighting our campsite with the glow from the stars and half a moon.”

“My legs feel rooted to the trail and for an awful second, all I see is black.”

“The ice around us tinkles and creaks like glass.”

Other Info:

Terry Lynn Johnson lives in Northern Ontario, where she works as a Conservation Officer. Ice Dogs was inspired by a team of crazy huskies she used to have. 

In an interview with Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles, Terry says she doesn't like giving writing advice because her process is different every time. But she does give this tip: “…one thing I do each time is try to keep questions in the readers mind. Adding answers slowly throughout the story is one way of rewarding a reader.

Terry Lynn Johnson’s first book, Dogsled Dreams, is about twelve-year old Rebecca and her goal of becoming a famous sled dog racer. I’m looking forward to reading it one day!

For more, visit Terry Lynn Johnson’s website

Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Author Shannon Messenger posts a weekly list of bloggers reviewing great middle grade books. Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.


  1. Glad you enjoyed this. Me too. And I loved the relationship between Victoria and Chris. Thanks for quoting my interview with Terry.

  2. Hi Andrea, I have read this book (I won it) and I enjoyed it too. I've known Terry Lynn since before Ice Dogs was published. I hope she keeps them coming. And, I agree, I think this could fit into upper MG, also.

    1. I hope she writes another one too! The writing was so lovely.

  3. Good to know this works as an upper MG title. The cover pulls you in from the start. Very intriguing story line. I'm adding this one to my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  4. I've read and enjoyed Dogsled Dreams but haven't had a chance to read this one yet. Sounds exciting.

  5. This is a really good book. I enjoyed it very much. Glad to see you spreading the word.

  6. Survival stories are always good, and this one sounds great! Thanks for the review.

  7. Do love this one and think it's even better than Paulsen! I am hoping that Johnson writes something else; I didn't know about the earlier book. Adore the cover, too!


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