Review: The Winter Road


There’s an old saying: Brevity is the soul of wit. This is certainly true of _The Winter Road,_ a new book by first-time author Terry Hokenson, published by Front Street Books. In a tale of winter survival reminiscent of _Hatchet,_ Hokenson weaves a tale of the Canadian northland in short, almost clipped prose.

The heroine, Willa, lives in the small Canadian town of Sioux Lookout, with her mother, Jean, and father, Bud. Her older brother Ray died six years ago in a snowmobiling accident. Willa plans to ride with her uncle Jordy in his small airplane, taking medical supplies to an isolated town. However, when she arrives at her uncle’s house at 5:30 in the morning, he is passed out from drinking. Knowing that these are important supplies, Willa decides to make the journey herself, having earned a pilot’s license under Jordy’s wing. However, due to terrible weather conditions, she crashes the plane in the remote Canadian wilderness. She must survive using only the tools at hand, but must also face her own feelings, especially her grief over Ray’s death, and her father’s seeming indifference to her existence.

Despite the gravity of the heroine’s situation, the book moves so quickly that it’s almost over before it starts. Occasionally, the story jumps ahead at inopportune times, cutting off what could have otherwise been a touching outburst of emotion, or a chilling moment of fright. Hokenson’s unique writing style sometimes hampers the emotions in the story, but I liked the book because it was very realistic, and very hard to put down. The dangers that presented themselves to Willa were varied without being contrived, and her creative responses were clever without being omniscient. It’s a book well worth the time it takes to read.

_Dylan Skerbitz is a 15-year-old homeschooler who lives in St. Paul. He enjoys reading and surfing the Internet._