Les Becquets distills this nightmare with eloquent restraint.
The Washington Post
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
When seventeen-year-old Genesis Sommers's father disappears in late fall from his boat on Moosehead Lake, her own long winter begins. No body is found, and shortly after his disappearance, the lake freezes over: perfect conditions for Sommers's chosen sport of ice car racing, impossible conditions for bringing closure to Gen, her stepmother, Linda, and twin half-brothers, in their numb despair. Gen embarks on her own painful quest to find out what really happened to her father and what hidden events in his life might explain his otherwise inexplicable accident. Les Becquets has crafted an exquisite novel that documents in meticulous, accumulating detail the landscape of loss, spending close to one hundred pages on the day of Mike Sommers's disappearance alone, each moment recorded in its urgent immediacy. The bleak, barren world of backwoods Maine becomes another central character in the story, as Gen drives alone to her father's remote logging camp to search for clues:. F few novels for young readers convey such a powerful sense of place. The metaphor of the "season of ice" is so clearly appropriate to the story, and so effectively developed, that it never feels merely literary or contrived. In a closing author's note, les Becquets writes that a friend once told her, "Life never gives you Plan A. It's how well you deal with Plan B that matters." Her beautiful novel offers eloquent testimony to this truth. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up- Genesis Sommer, 17, lives with her father, stepmother, and twin half brothers in a town on Moosehead Lake in northern Maine. Her world turns upside down on a stormy November day when her father ventures out on the lake to repair a dock and doesn't return. The rescue team finds his boat, but soon the reality sets in that the mission has become a retrieval operation. Then the lake freezes and a period of terrible waiting begins. Genesis quits school and goes to work in order to help support the family, and life takes on an almost surreal aspect. The one thing that holds meaning for her is ice-car racing, an activity she shared with her father. When she wins her first major competition, she goes in search of information about her dad and begins to accept his death, allowing herself to feel the emotions that she had been denying over several weeks. Genesis comes to realize that she really did not know her father, and the same can be said for her stepmother, brothers, and best friend. Her slow climb back to the world of the living begins with the answers to many questions and with self-discovery. This well-written, thought-provoking novel will ring true even for those who have not lost someone close. It is a soul-searching quest that makes readers think about what is important and the steps needed to take charge of one's life. A worthwhile purchase for most collections.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
How could 17-year-old Genesis Sommer's father simply disappear in Moosehead Lake in northern Maine? The search-and-rescue operation to find the longtime de-limber in the logging industry becomes a wait-and-see ordeal when the lake freezes overnight and her father's body is trapped until the spring thaw. As Gen tries to resume a normal life, ice-car racing on the same lake and dropping out of school to help support her stepfamily, she questions how well she really knew her father, especially after dark rumors circulate through the small town. Venturing to her father's logging camp to uncover the truth and entering a romance with a university intern, Gen begins the grief process, decides to live in the moment and realizes that her father's love is all she really needs to know about him. Although the story's pacing is slow but steady, Les Becquets has a gift for placing readers amidst the people and terrain of the region. Sports enthusiasts will be intrigued by Gen's ice-car racing, based on real-life teenaged racer Nikki Hamilton. (Fiction. YA)