Reviews

Northwind, by Gary Paulsen

agrandreflection's review against another edition

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5.0

Calling it Hatchet by the ocean is not inaccurate, but there's a lot more going on here as well. The main character's Nordic worldview lets you seep slowly into the wise ways of being connected to icy land, and the personal animal connections found in the book are unparalleled. Sure, there are moments of intensity and dread... but overall there's a sense of calm alertness to the surrounding nature. Definitely one of the most peaceful survival tales I've read. Though this is YA, I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to reconnect and return to a natural rhythm.

kat_mayerova's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional inspiring relaxing fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

readermaker's review against another edition

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5.0



Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan (Farrah Straus Giroux) for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

This middle grade novel may be the audience the author was targeting for this story but it is an adventure that will reach all the way up to an adult age group level. As a reader of Hatchet in my younger years I found this story to be similar in adventure and the writing style is one akin to anything a reader has come to expect from Gary Paulsen.

The story takes place on the ocean in the Northern Pacific when a young orphan boy’s village is taken over by a life threatening disease. The boy sets out in a canoe to head North away from the sickness that is killing off his people. The descriptions of the fjord-riven shorelines are so vivid that I could clearly see these places in my mind. His interactions with the life around him were playful as you would expect of any young boy. “Young whales, above all, love to play and the young ones did not see danger in the perfect toy…” referring to Leif as he interacted with the whales he encountered. The game the whales played with the canoe as if it were a “wooden feather… pushing the canoe back and forth across the surface.” was delightful.

It was very touching as Leif sought to know his mother through his journey as we watch him grow into a survivor. Keeping track of events on his story boards became vital as he too saw the growth that he was experiencing.

I was not ready for the story to end and I felt that the author may have had thoughts of a sequel never to be realized with his unexpected death. His legacy will live on as readers will cherish his writing for ages to come. God bless you, Gary Paulsen, for sharing your stories with us for all these years.

barbaragorgon's review against another edition

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4.0

This was meandering and meditative, and the writing is beautiful. Kids who love nature and animal stories, like I did, will get a thrill out of this book.

ams_jenkins's review against another edition

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lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.0

rmckevitz's review against another edition

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4.0

I first read Gary Paulsen (The Island) when I was in 8th or 9th grade and it had a profound impact on me. A decade and a half later, I am still a huge fan. Grateful to have had the opportunity to read this in one sitting, while enjoying nature…just as I imagine Mr. Paulsen would have wanted.

Note that this is a middle-grade/YA book, not plot forward, but more an exploration of one boy’s relationship with nature, much like The Island (which I think I preferred to this one just slightly).

jbach6's review against another edition

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5.0

Paulsen, a master of description, does it again with vibrant and immersive prose providing the backdrop for a simple and engaging story reminiscent of Hatchet.

samanthahenkel's review against another edition

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adventurous fast-paced

2.0

jengennari's review against another edition

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5.0

The story of Leif, in a dugout canoe, surviving on berries and fish as he travels north. Dysentery has killed off the sailors who used to care for him. He faces big waves, wild currents, bears and fish-stealing ravens. An adventure story told in beautiful prose that makes you love the wild earth.

michelletheshell's review against another edition

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adventurous reflective relaxing slow-paced

3.5