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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lawrence Titus Oates was a real explorer, and readers may be inspired to learn more about him, and other adventurers. Readers may also want to investigate Symme's Hole.
Coming-of-age themes as Symone taps into her inner strength to fight to survive.
Positive Role Models
Readers might be impressed that the book's protagonist is an unpopular, hearing-impaired 14- year-old girl. Initially, she is quite gullible, but fights to survive in incredible conditions.
Violence & Scariness
Several murders, by poison and by explosion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens kiss, think about going further (encouraged by an adult); a teen girl brags of a sexual relationship with a 30-year-old man; discussions of having sex, nothing graphic.
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"S--t" and "f--k" each used once.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and drunkenness referred to. Herbal teas are used to poison people.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some discussions about having sex, not graphic, and a few murders in this Printz Award-winning adventure story. Readers might be impressed that the book's protagonist is a hearing-impaired 14-year-old misfit girl. Initially, she is quite gullible -- to a rather unbelievable degree -- but fights to survive in incredible conditions. Readers may be inspired to learn more about Lawrence Titus Oates -- a real explorer who is also Symone's imaginary friend. They may also want to investigate Symme's Hole.
Is It Any Good?
The subject matter -- Antarctica -- is one to inspire flights of poetry, but the author's lyrical descriptions are a bit overdone. It's a pity too, because the less experienced or impatient readers may be put off and give up, and they will miss out on an exciting 200-page survival story hidden within this nearly 400-page book.
It takes a while to get to Antarctica, and in the meantime readers may also be annoyed by Symone, whose blind faith in the first part of the book strains credulity. When Victor takes her to Paris, he leaves her mother behind even though she was supposed to accompany them. A sensible girl, which she is supposed to be, might have gotten suspicious, especially when she finds her mother's passport in his pocket. And what about when he suggests that they take an unplanned jaunt off to Antarctica, and says her mother won't mind? And so on. News of the depths of his duplicity later in the book come as revelations to Sym, but the reader will have seen them coming a long way off. Even so, readers willing to accept her foolishness will root for Symone -- a hearing-impaired 14-year old -- who fights to survive in incredible conditions in this unusual story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.