Never Say Die by Will Hobbs starts out with a bang, or rather, it doesn’t start out with a bang because when fifteen-year -ld Nick Thrasher is charged by the largest, most ferocious bear he’s ever seen, he can’t find his rifle. Instead, he raises his huge knife and makes it to his boat just in time, with the bear charging into the water after him. When Nick returns home and describes the bear to his grandfather, the two surmise that a grizzly and a polar bear must have mated, producing what they decide to call a grolar bear.
Soon after this harrowing experience, Nick is contacted by his older half-brother, Ryan, a wildlife photographer interested in documenting caribou migration. As Nick is an Inuit hunter and knows the Canadian arctic region well, Ryan invites him along to be his guide and companion. Although Nick is reluctant to join this half-brother he has never met, he eventually agrees at his grandfather’s urging. After flying to the remote Firth River, the two have barely started their journey when their raft capsizes and they lose their supplies. The two brothers swim to safety, winding up on opposite sides of the river, with no way to reach each other anytime soon. And it gets worse–the two must not only improvise to survive, they must also be on the lookout for wolves, grizzlies, and, of course, the grolar bear.
Will Hobbs once again delivers an exciting survival story with a strongly presented setting. Woven through the novel is information to raise awareness about how climate change is affecting the arctic region. But the best part? Grolar bears are real! So you can lead students to informational texts, such as this 2006 article from National Geographic or this 2012 article from the Toronto Star, to learn even more.
Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts
- A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
- Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald
- Dogs on Duty by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
- Unstoppable by Tim Green
- Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- Almost Home by Joan Bauer
- Bomb by Steve Sheinkin