The White Darkness

by Geraldine McCaughrean

Brief Summary: Antarctica is no joke. The Ice is a constant predator and must be respected. And Sym has wanted to go there her entire life. Her obsession with The Ice was fueled by her Uncle Victor’s similar drive to conquer the frozen tundra. He gave her books upon books about Antarctica. He gave her Titus – Sym’s imaginary boyfriend. And he also has given her a trip of a lifetime: a few weeks on The Ice.

Antarctica is no joke, though. And it is always looking for a way to cleanse itself; to be rid of its unwelcome guests.

Kell’s Chatty Review: This book is disturbing, fascinating and revealing. It is SO not anything close to what I was expecting. I went in thinking it was going to be an adventure. Which it is, but it is so much more than that. I think it would completely appeal to guys as well as girls.

But Imaginary Friends?: Yes. This was one of the things that really threw me the beginning. But if you keep reading, it really does start to make sense a bit. And, honestly, now I want a Titus.

(Semi-Spoiler Alert) I think the obvious answer here is that Sym was hiding from the many problems and issues she had been going through. I think the not so obvious answer – and the one that most can probably relate to – is that when you’re a teenager, you daydream about what celebrity you like. For Sym, Titus was her celebrity. She was always aware of the imaginary part of it. (Major spoiler alert): With one exception.

Twists and Turns: McCaughrean takes her time revealing a lot of the plot twists, which I was okay with because it was obvious there was no way Sym would have found them out earlier. I had an inkling from the second chapter what was going on (Not everything, but most). And I remember consciously thinking “Man, this is ridiculously disturbing and not ok.” I’m not sure if understanding what was happening before Sym did helped the storyline or not.

Antarctica: If I’m understanding the postscript correctly, McCaughrean did not make a trip to Antarctica before writing this book. And seriously, you would never know. Her descriptions are vivid, beautiful and terrifying. And immensely detailed. Bravo there.

Spoiler-Related Question I Have to Ask, So If You’ve Read This Book Please Answer: Did it drive anyone else nuts how little Sym mentioned her mom? I mean, I think I can count on two hands the number of times she mentioned. I can’t decide if that was intentional or not, but it made Sym a little cold to me. And not in the “I’m Shy!” cold way, but in the “hey, maybe you should be worrying about your mom” cold way.

What life lesson I learned from this book: Well, I learned a lot about what NOT to do if ever in Antarctica. But a good lesson from this book was don’t do things just because you feel obligated to. Even if they’re adults.

What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Go to Antarctica. And not go to Antarctica. Maybe read another book about Antarctica?

Re-Readability Rating: 2. I loved the action in this book. But seriously, it was disturbing to me at times.

Where this book came from: Library!

Post-Post Musing: So as I was trying to pick tags to assign this post, I debated putting Strength for the strong feminine role, which I find to be really important in YA books. But I really cannot decide if Sym was strong enough throughout to characterize the book. Do characters get to be called strong if they only are strong at the end and weak for most of the book? Or should strength be shown throughout?

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