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Frozen Stiff

What begins as a two-night camping and kayaking trek in the untamed Alaskan wilderness turns into a test of survival for Cody and her cousin Derek. While their mothers are in Juneau picking up supplies for Yakutat Lodge, the cousins sneak off in an old pickup. The taste of freedom is soon tainted when Cody's kayak is lost on the rising tide, washing away her life vest and precious supplies.

With only each other for support, the cousins face hunger and their fears of the unknown region of Southeast Alaska. As an advancing glacier floods the remote fjord, Cody and Derek find themselves facing menacing waves, immense icebergs, and wild animals. A sense that someone is following them adds to the formidable danger.

Used in the classroom as a companion to Call of the Wild and Julie books. "Battle of the Books" list.


BOOKLIST. Gr. 4-7. In this compelling adventure story with a highly realized Alaskan setting, two cousins set out on a kayak trip, expecting to return before their mothers even realize they are gone. From the outset, things go awry. Cody, the wilderness aficionado, immediately gets her only pair of socks wet; Derek, the "lower-forty-eight" city slicker isn't even wearing socks. Things don't get better: Cody encounters a bear and begins to mull over her parents' recent divorce; the campsite is completely flooded, all the supplies are lost; and Cody is temporarily blinded by a serious sunburn to her eyes. Eventually the pair is rescued, but not before they've showed their courage. A solid, readable, well-researched novel with good plotting and convincing characters, this has all the elements a good survival story should have. Shelley Townsend-Hudson, Booklist

KIRKUS: Two inexperienced kayakers are trapped in the Alaskan wilderness by a freak of nature in a patchy but vivid survival adventure. Cody and her cousin, Derek, sneak out for a weekend of camping while their mothers are away in Juneau; when the Hubbard Glacier ``surges,'' blocking outflow from the Russell Fjord, a rapidly rising water level catches them by surprise, washing away Cody's kayak and nearly all of their supplies. After an unsuccessful attempt to paddle back to their starting point leaves them wet, hungry, exhausted, and, in Cody's case, snow blind, a mysterious, masked woodsman brings food before luring Derek away. Cody follows, attempting to save Derek from danger, only to learn that he's gone along willingly with a reclusive ex-guide (and his wife) whose face was ravaged by frostbite on Denali; they feed the children and lead them to a point from which they can kayak to safety. The ``abducting'' of Derek (planned so Cody would follow) is never explained satisfactorily, and a heavily foreshadowed run-in with bears remains a tease. Still, the action is rapid and mostly realistic; Shahan describes the natural beauty, as well as the mud, mosquitoes, and other miseries her young people encounter, with authority. (Fiction. 10-12)