Juggling Fire

  • Pages:184
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:survival, grief, fairy tales, juggling, adventure
  • Available:10/01/2009
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:HL810L
  • ATOS:5.4
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Rachel's idyllic existence with her family in the remote mountain passes of northern Yukon was shattered by her father's depression, the family's relocation to "town" and her father's subsequent disappearance. Obsessed with understanding why her father never returned, Rachel hikes with her dog across mountain passes and along valleys to her childhood home. As she walks, she distracts herself from her anxiety by reinventing fairy tales remembered from her childhood. As the days pass, the imaginary quest begins to echo her own journey as she confronts danger, faces loneliness and unearths the truth about her father.
"Readers are on a wilderness trek which is so clearly described it seems just metres away…A wonderful tale which will appeal to both male and female young adult readers…Highly recommended."
– CM Magazine
"Bell beautifully captures the natural world through descriptions of the mountainous terrain as well as nail-biting encounters with bears and wolves. Rachel is a smart, resourceful narrator who nevertheless struggles with the challenges nature throws her way, as well as balancing her own needs and those of her dog…This book will appeal to readers looking for an outdoor adventure, though it's a quieter, more contemplative read.
– School Library Journal
"The narrative structure…weaves together several strands of past, present, and fantasy to create a rich portrait of a young woman on the brink of adulthood. The setting is vividly described throughout, with rich local color and concise details about the flora and fauna of the Yukon. The novel also earns high marks for its sensitive treatment of depression and family life."
– ALAN's Picks
"The descriptions of Alaska are poetic. The writing style is sublime...Will appeal to readers of all ages."
– TriState YA Book Review
"The writing is suspenseful as Rachel and Brooks deal with bears, wolves, and other dangers, yet it is also whimsical with fairy tales woven in, juggling, poems, and the beauty of the Yukon. Recommend for both school and public libraries."
– Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
TriState Young Adult Book Review Committee Book of Note   | 2010  |  Commended