I saw an article recently that L’Engle has a new short story collection coming out, which prompted me to check the library catalogues for any of her books I’d never read. This fit the bill. I was shocked to see it’s in the same series as my favorite book of hers, A Ring of Endless Light, and I hadn’t read it.
Genre: YA fiction
Length: 296 pages
Setting: New England and traveling to the Antarctic, 1990s, following the events of A Ring of Endless Light
Summary: Short version: Vicky finds a trip to the Antarctic more dangerous than expected
Long version: The Austins have moved home from the big city and Vicky is feeling out of place. She’s matured beyond many of her schoolmates. She finds an outlet by befriending Adam’s elderly Aunt Serena. They get on remarkably well. Aunt Serena surprises Vicky with a trip to the Antarctic to visit Adam (who’s interning at a station there). She’s the youngest person on The Argosy and is adopted by several of the passengers. While she’s amazed by the scenery and wildlife they see, there’s something sinister going on. She’s targeted with several warning notes before they leave and on the ship. Ultimately, she’s kidnapped and left adrift on an iceberg. She’s rescued by Adam and some friends and learns what was going on.
Final thoughts: A good story, but it’s not to replace A Ring of Endless Light as my favorite. There was a looming sense of dread over the entire book, which wasn’t really the mood I was looking for. The book starts with Vicky stuck on an iceberg and trying not to die of hypothermia. We know that’s where she’ll end up. The rest of the book is just setting everything up to get her there. She keeps getting warning not to go on the trip and can’t figure out how or why. She’s just a random high school student – why would anyone care if she goes to the Antarctic? It’s because people who steal power never feel secure. The powers-that-be in Vespugia (a fictional South American country) think Adam and Vicky know something that would hurt their ability to prosper internationally. They’re both just kids who get wrapped up in politics.
The scenery that L’Engle describes makes me want to visit Antarctica. It’s one of the few places. I’d be willing to visit on a (small) cruise just because there’s no other way to see the location. It sounds so magnificent, but I’d probably be seasick half the time. L’Engle also includes quite a bit of music and poetry, which is only to be expected. Vicky wrote poetry, and one of the passengers played the harp.
Title comes from: The lyrics to a song one of the characters sings
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #40 for 2020
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