Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sedgwick, Marcus. 2010. REVOLVER. New York: Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596435926 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
When Sig Anderson’s father freezes to death crossing a river that was only partially frozen, Sig remains at their cabin north of the Arctic Circle with his dad’s body while his mother and sister go for help. Sig does not understand his father’s carelessness until a menacing stranger who says he is the father’s ex-partner appears, demanding his share of stolen gold. Not only must Sig deal with the idea that his father might be a thief, but he also must try to save himself and his sister if she returns home too soon.
Set in the Arctic Circle in 1910 with flashbacks to the end of the Klondike Gold Rush, this Printz Honor book is an intriguing historical mystery, survival story, and taut psychological thriller. Factual matter about the history of the revolver interspersed between chapters heightens the mounting tension as the story builds to its chilling climax. Strong characters and excellent scene building in the frozen setting grips the reader from beginning to end. The short chapters make this a great “boy” book for reluctant readers, but the gripping story will appeal to all levels of readers.
Use this novel in American history classes to enhance the study of the Alaskan and California Gold Rushes or for a book discussion group, especially one for boys.
Other books about Alaskan history:
Berton, Pierre. THE KLONDIKE FEVER: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE LAST GOLD RUSH. ISBN 9780786713172
Berton, Pierre. STAMPEDE FOR GOLD: THE STORY OF THE KLONDIKE RUSH. ISBN 9781402751219
Cole, Terrence. CROOKED PAST: THE STORY OF A FRONTIER MINING CAMP. ISBN 9780912006536
By Janet Hilbun