Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross. SparkPress, 2021. 9781684631094
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 4
Format: Paperback ARC
Genre: Realistic fiction/thriller
What did you like about the book? Sam is headed on a senior ski trip with 5 classmates and a dog when a horrible snow storm hits. The highway is shut down, so the teens take a shortcut, but then crash their Suburban into a large snowbank. One of their party, Sam’s studious best friend Lily, is injured, they have no cell coverage, and there is no sign of civilization anywhere nearby. They’re stuck. Now they must ration food, try to conserve fuel to keep warm, and navigate tricky personalities in a tight space. Things devolve quickly. When a small group leaves the vehicle to look for help, Sam’s brother has a horrible accident and smashes his leg. As the days drag on, the situation becomes more and more terrifying and people begin to die. Opinions diverge on the best strategy moving forward — stay put or go find help? Stick together or split up? People Sam thought she knew begin to surprise her in both good and bad ways. Secrets come to light. The dog doesn’t die. The last third of the book is thrilling and fast-paced and un-put-downable. Characters are diverse. Sam is an animal lover and a vegetarian; Britney is a devout White Christian; Hunter is Black and from a wealthy family; Lily is Chinese; Gavin and Stuart are White. The characters break many stereotypes, as well.
As Ross points out “You see all these survival stories on TV filled with exciting scenes from moment to moment, but what they don’t show you is that for most of the moments there’s a whole lot of nothing going on. Nothing except crying and pain.” Ross does a great job exploring the conversations this diverse group of people would have in a survival situation — everything from animal rights to religion to the existence of Black cowboys. Equally well done are the descriptions of the pain of watching loved ones suffer. Hand this to students who like thrillers and books about survival!
Anything you did not like about the book? The book dragged a bit in the middle, but then picked up in a big way.
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like survival stories.
Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Realistic or adventure fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: September 28, 2021