Friday, May 10, 2013

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs: Book Review

Never Say DieNever Say Die
Author: Will Hobbs
Publisher: Harper, 2013
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age level: Middle Grade, 8-12
Pages: 212 

Life is about to change for fifteen-year-old Nick Thrasher, a half-Inuit boy who lives in the Canadian Arctic. Nick is invited by his older half-brother Ryan Powers to take a raft trip up the Firth River in search of the caribou herds. Ryan is a professional photographer and wants to write an article on the effects of climate change on their migration and numbers. It is also an opportunity for Nick and Ryan to get to know each other. They were raised separately by different mothers and have the same father, a man they never really knew. 

Nick hesitates to leave his dying grandfather behind, but Grampa Jonah urges him to go. It is too great of an opportunity. Grampa Jonah has taught him a lot about the Arctic, its wildlife, climate, and life as an Inuit. Nick leaves with a heavy heart, drawing hope from his high school’s motto, “Never Say Die.” It is a motto he thinks a lot about over the coming days, because only one day into the trip, the raft flips over and Nick and Ryan are separated on opposite shores. Now they must find each other and survive in a brutal environment with limited supplies. Never Say Die is a survival story reminiscent of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, but also the story of two brothers who learn to trust each other. 

Readers learn about Arctic life and see the strange effects of climate change as the story unfolds. One change the Inuit worry about is the breeding of grizzly with polar bears. Grolar bears, as they are called, are dangerous and have been sighted twice—once by Nick in a life-threatening attack. Now with few supplies and no rifle, Nick worries about the monstrous bear. When it appears, and then attacks, Nick and Ryan must fight for their lives. 

Never Say Die is for readers who love outdoor adventure and the wilderness. Memorable descriptions of caribou in the thousands, ice cold rapids, a powerful thunderstorm and flood, and swarms of mosquitoes fill the pages. Hobbs’s personal experience in the Arctic and on the Firth River are an added bonus and give authenticity to the story. 

Copyright 2013 © Sharon M. Himsl


  1. This sounds like it could be a good read. I'm going to have to check this out.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. I've always enjoyed books like this. Sounds like a good one.

  3. That sounds like a great book to read. I think my son will enjoy it too.

  4. How fascinating! I had no idea there was such a thing as a grolar bear. I looked it up, though, and sure enough. I wonder if that could help save each line. This book sounds good. Thank you for passing it along.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.