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Far North

Far North

4.3 67
by Will Hobbs

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From the window of the small floatplane, fifteen-year-old Gabe Rogers is getting his first look at Canada's magnificent Northwest Territories with Raymond Providence, his roommate from boarding school. Below is the spectacular Nahanni River -- wall-to-wall whitewater racing between sheer cliffs and plunging over Virginia Falls. The pilot sets the plane down on the


From the window of the small floatplane, fifteen-year-old Gabe Rogers is getting his first look at Canada's magnificent Northwest Territories with Raymond Providence, his roommate from boarding school. Below is the spectacular Nahanni River -- wall-to-wall whitewater racing between sheer cliffs and plunging over Virginia Falls. The pilot sets the plane down on the lake-like surface of the upper river for a closer look at the thundering falls. Suddenly the engine quits. The only sound is a dull roar downstream, as the Cessna drifts helplessly toward the falls . . .

With the brutal subarctic winter fast approaching, Gabe and Raymond soon find themselves stranded in Deadmen Valley. Trapped in a frozen world of moose, wolves, and bears, two boys from vastly different cultures come to depend on each other for their very survival.

Editorial Reviews

Fast-paced, action-packed! In this classic tale of winter wilderness survival, Hobbs masterfully weaves adventure, Native American heritage, and friendship into a riveting, multi-layered narrative.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Those insatiable fans of Hatchet are the likeliest audience for this winter survival tale, which weds its adventure-seeking thrills to education about Dene Indian culture. Fifteen-year-old Gabe, a Texan, enrolls in a boarding school in Canada's Northwest Territories to be near his father, whose love of the wilderness has become infectious. But Gabe gets more than he bargained for when an airplane accident leaves him and his roommate Raymond, a Dene, stranded near the fierce Nahanni River at the start of a long winter. Guided by their fellow survivor Johnny Raven, a Dene elder, Gabe and Raymond learn to hunt beavers, trap rabbits and make snowshoes and mittens from animal hide. More significantly, they learn respect for ancient Dene beliefs. When Raven dies of the cold, the two boys must struggle out of Deadmen Valley on their own. Predictably sentimental, Hobbs's (Beardance) fast-moving tale nonetheless delivers breathless action and an inspiring sense of Canada's vast landscape. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
The ALAN Review - William R. Mollineaux
When Clint, their bush pilot, promised that he was going to give them a sightseeing tour they'd never forget, fifteen-year olds Gabe Rogers and Raymond Providence had no idea that it was going to include a five-month survival struggle in Canada's Northwest Territories. After the destruction of their plane and Clint's death, Gabe and Raymond learn to survive through the help of Johnny Raven, Raymond's elderly great-uncle, a Native American. More important, they come to appreciate and understand Johnny's last words: "...take care of the land, take care of yourself, take care of each other." Readers who enjoyed Paulsen's Brian's Winter will find Hobbs's tale equally satisfying, as two boys from different cultures forge a bond and come to understand why tribal elders believe that young people must possess knowledge of the past in order to survive in the future.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
As Gabe and Raymond are in danger of freezing to death, Ray recalls his mother saying, "Life is the greatest gift," which gives the boys greater resolve to survive. Roommates at a boarding school in Yellowknife, the boys come from totally different cultures: Ray is a native from a remote Dene village in Canada while Gabe is a Texan. On an ill-fated flight, the boys must depend on each other when their plane goes down in a remote area of the Northwest Territory. With them is Johnny, an old man from Ray's village, who teaches them more survival skills before he dies, but finally it is the boys who must help each other. Grand scenic descriptions plus suspense and dramatic action make this a good story of friendship and survival. 1997 (orig.
VOYA - Diane Tuccillo
Fifteen-year-old Texan Gabe Rogers decides to attend boarding school in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories so that he can be near his father, who is working at a diamond drilling project. When his roommate, Raymond Providence, a native from a remote Dene village, chooses to leave the boarding school and return home, Gabe is invited by his pilot buddy, Clint, to fly along. With them is Raymond's great-uncle, Johnny Raven, who has just been released from the hospital in Yellowknife and is also returning home to the village. Clint decides to take a detour up the Nahanni river to show his passengers the spectacular Virginia Falls, even though his radio is not functioning well enough to allow him to report his change in flight plans. When the engine dies after the plane lands on the river, everyone is nearly swept away by the strong current. The boys and Johnny Raven manage to get some supplies and themselves to the riverbank, but Clint is not so lucky. He and the plane are dragged over the falls. So begins a battle of survival for the wise elder and two resourceful teens, with the intense Arctic winter descending upon them. This classic Hobbs adventure, taking readers to a rugged, amazing wilderness few know. Characters are well drawn, and excitement and energy penetrate their entire trek from above Virginia Falls through the looming canyon of the almost-frozen Nahanni below. Smart and faulty choices are made the whole journey until the boys realize they must follow Johnny Raven's guidance if they are to make it back home. When Johnny Raven dies, the boys have learned so much from him they are able to continue their journey. Raymond is even able to recognize the spirit of the raven as their guide, reminiscent of Burr's cougar in Ardath Mayhar's Medicine Walk (Atheneum, 1985). Readers clamoring for more superior adventure like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987) will find their wish satisfied here. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpFrom the compelling cover illustration to the terrifying and plausible details, this survival adventure clearly demonstrates the author's love for and familiarity with the northern wilderness. Gabe, 15, formerly of San Antonio, enrolls in a boarding school in Canada's Northwest Territories to be closer to his father, an oil field worker. Gabe's likable but depressed roommate, Raymond, is an Athapascan Indian. A map helps readers follow along as circumstances involving a plane crash leave the teens and Johnny Raven, an elder from Raymond's village, stranded with minimal supplies as winter hardens. The plotting is fast paced and action filled as the teens' cultures clash, and as they struggle against the cold, blizzards, isolation, starvation, injury, a wolverine, grizzly bear, and Johnny's death before finally reaching safety. The weakest elements of the book may be the sermonlike "testament" the boys find in Johnny's pocket after his death, and the thread of mythic raven lore that is mentioned, then given up before becoming a major element again. Quibbles aside, with echoes as old as Jean Craighead George's classic My Side of the Mountain (Dutton, 1988) and reverberations from Paulsen and Phleger, this satisfying tale will engage YAs' hearts and minds.Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Kirkus Reviews
Stranded in an uninhabited area of Canada's Northwest Territories, two teenagers and an old Indian hunter face a winter so brutal residents call it "The Hammer." Gabe, 15, has come to boarding school in Yellow Knife to be nearer his oilman father. When his taciturn Athapaskan roommate, Raymond, quits school to fly back to his village, Gabe goes along. A spur-of-the- moment trip to see spectacular Virginia Falls turns into disaster when plane and pilot are swept away. Gabe and Raymond are left with a small cache of survival gear, plus a third passenger, Raymond's great-uncle, Johnny Raven, to keep them alive. Johnny teaches his two charges rudimentary survival skills, then finds them an old cabin in which to hole up before he dies. Weeks and repeated brushes with death later, the destruction of their food supply by a grizzly bear forces them into a grueling trek to Raymond's home. Although Hobbs (Beardance, 1993, etc.) doesn't write with the immediacy or meticulous attention to detail that Gary Paulsen brings to Brian's Winter (1996) or its prequel, Hatchet (1987), he summons plenty of uncontrived danger for his characters to face both foolishly and heroically. The conflict between modern and traditional ways is pervasive, as Raymond, a misfit in both worlds, struggles to find out who he is.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.44(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author's eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada's Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

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Far North 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book "Far North" by Will Hobbs is one of the most thrilling adventure books out there. It's about an American boy named Gabe who decides to move to the Northwest Territories in Canada to be closer to his father. He's been living with his grandparents for the past few years in Texas and since his dad's line of work requires him to be in extremely rural areas for long periods of time, Gabe doesn't see his father as much as he's like to. When he moves into a boarding school and decides to take a sight-seeing tour with two other passengers his life drastically changes. During the tour the plane taxis into a fast moving river and when they try to lift off the plane doesn't start, when they become within one-hundred feet of a HUGE waterfall they decide to evacuate the plane, everyone survives except the pilot. After being stranded in the wild for a few weeks they decide to travel down river on a raft in hopes of finding civilization. The next few months are about Gabe, and the other two passengers coming together to survive the brutal winter the Northwest Territories are known for. During this adventure everyone learns more about themselves and they become closer to nature. I believe the major message this book is trying to get through is that everyone should respect nature, themselves, and others. I enjoyed this book so much because of the thrilling adventure this average teenage boy goes on in a wilderness so foreign to him and he has to learn from his mistakes to survive. My only dislike of this book is that the author throws in some unrealistic scenarios that make the book seem unrealistic. I think if someone is looking for something to read and they enjoy adventures they should read this book, because it is one of the most engaging adventure books in existence and it keeps the reader interested throughout the book. A few other related books by this author include; "Beardance", "Bearstone", and "The Big Wander". Related books by another author are; "Brian's Winter" and "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen. My overall rating of this book is 9 out of 10, because it's a great book that really captures the reader and gets them interested in the story, but there are a few events and situations in the book that seem to be there just to add pages to it and make the book seem fantasy like and unrealistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool! I wish I lived waterside!.....Juneau is beautiful, and Fairbanks sucks!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading, very exciting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is a very good book about two boys surviving in Canada. It is sad in one part though. I often have a hard time finding a good book, but this book kept me reading it. It has the perfect amount of suspenceful and relaxing parts. This book was a very good book, and I highly recomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story! Not only a survival story, but learning about the way of the Natives as well. Very good read!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the old man said and taught two boys about survival and respect for the land and its resources.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two young boys caught in the Canadian wilderness in wintertime with only an old Indian with little English to help them. Frigid temperatures, starvation, and a grumpy grizzly are only a few of the trials they endure to survive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jjz6215 More than 1 year ago
Far North is a good easy read; not a literary masterpiece. It is a nice story about two young men and one's grandfather who get caught in a life threatening test of their survival skills. The reader gains some insight into the characters and their cultures as the day to day fight for survival unfolds. Far North is not a page turner but it does move fast enough to keep your interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book immensely. It sits in my Nook alongside The Snow Child. Both very satisfying winter reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an adventurous story, but at times it did drag on. All in all I would recommend, especially to young boys in their teenage years. The characters are well defined and the description of the scenery is amazing. The cold temperatures, that dip well below freezing might leave you a little breathless, I can't imagine what that type of cold would fill like.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely perfect book. Favorite book ever. Also recommend Leaving Protection also by Will Hobbs.
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