Dog Driven

HMH. Dec. 2019. 240p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328551597.
Gr 5-8–Fourteen-year-old McKenna’s sister, Emma, wants to race their sled dogs, but she’s lost most of her vision due to Stargardt disease, so she asks McKenna to race in her stead. But McKenna agrees reluctantly—she has the disease, too, and her vision is slowly deteriorating. Still, she wants to deliver a letter to the Foundation for Fighting Blindness. The race begins with McKenna in the lead. She befriends a boy named Guy, and the two take shelter in a cave during a wind storm, wondering how they will finish the race. Guy and McKenna are well developed, and the action is captivating. The plot becomes sluggish at points; a shorter narrative might have been more powerful. Each chapter ends with fictionalized historical letters between figures based on the era of dogsled mail couriers from 1856 to the early 1900s, as well as letters between the contemporary characters. These parallel exchanges tie the chapters together well.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries where hybrid contemporary and historical fiction is high in demand.

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