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Book Review: An Echo Through the Snow

By Storycarnivores @storycarnivores

Book Review: An Echo Through the SnowTitle: An Echo Through the Snow
Author: Andrea Thalasinos
Series: N/A
Publisher: Forge Books
Publish Date: 8/21/12
Genre: YA Contemporary/Historical
Pages: 368
Source: Net Galley
Buy the Book: An Echo Through the Snow

SUMMARY: Rosalie MacKenzie is headed nowhere until she sees Smokey, a Siberian husky suffering from neglect. Rosalie finds the courage to rescue the dog, and—united by the bond of love that forms between them—they save each other.
Soon Rosalie and Smokey are immersed in the world of competitive dogsled racing. Days are filled with training runs, the stark beauty of rural Wisconsin, and the whoosh of runners on snow. Rosalie discovers that behind the modern sport lies a tragic history: the heartbreaking story of the Chukchi people of Siberia. When Stalin’s Red Army displaced the Chukchi in 1929, many were killed and others lost their homes and their beloved Guardians—the huskies that were the soul and livelihood of their people.
Alternating between past and present, telling of a struggling Chukchi family and a young woman discovering herself, An Echo Through the Snow takes readers on a gripping, profound, and uplifting dogsled ride to the Iditarod and beyond, on a journey of survival and healing.(Via Goodreads)

SHAUNTA’S REVIEW: I’m a sucker for a book that has a really well-written setting. I love feeling like I’ve been taken somewhere new. Andrea Thalasinos did that with her debut book, An Echo Through the Snow. It’s set in Wisconsin and Alaska and Siberia, where winter is such a presence, it feels like a character in the story. Thalasinos’ love for the Northern climate (she lives in Wisconsin), the husky dogs that play such a huge roll in the story, and the sport of dog sled racing shines through. I was successfully transported, which is always a great big plus for me.

This story alternates between the points of view of Rosalie, a Native American teenager in Wisconsin in the early 1990s, and Jeaantaa, a woman in Siberia in the 1920s. The story lines don’t cross until the very end, but the dogs and the women’s similar grief weave them together beautifully all the way through. Sometimes a shift in perspective like that can pull me out of a story, but in this case, it pulled me through. Both stories were compelling, and I wanted to know more and find out what happened. The pacing of the story was spot on, and the characters were well developed.

I fell in love with Smokey and the Noodle, and all the other dogs. It did seem a little far-fetched that Rosalie and her father would suddenly find themselves the adoptive parents of TEN huskies, just enough to make a full dog sledding team. But I was able to suspend that disbelief, because reading about the dogs growing and learning and getting stronger was so much fun.

If there was one thing that seemed a little off to me, it was the small amount of paranormal in the story. It didn’t fit perfectly. I didn’t hate it, and it didn’t make me enjoy the book less, but I also didn’t buy it and it made the story wrap up a little too neatly. Otherwise, this is a great book with awesome storytelling and a strong sense of place.

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