“I have been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now—which is ridiculous, since he’s been dead for ninety years.” So begins The White Darkness, this year’s recipient of the Michael L. Printz award.
Titus Oates, who joined Robert Falcon Scott’s exploration of Antarctica, has indeed been dead for ninety years, and he met his end on that very exploration. Fourteen-year-old Sym, a dork at school because of her hearing aids and obsession with the south pole, has been hearing his voice in her head (but not in an Avril way) for a couple years now. He is likely her best friend.
Sym’s adventure begins when a weekend trip to Paris with her Uncle Victor, the man responsible for Sym’s obsession with “the ice,” turns into a surprise holiday tour of the south pole. The generosity! But then everyone gets the runs, and there’s an explosion, and some mysterious Scandinavian hotties are plotting and scheming with Uncle Victor. Then the emergency phones don’t work. Then all the other tourists mysteriously fall asleep. Sym doesn’t get in on the plan until it is too late to stop Crazy Uncle V. She, Victor, and the hottes are already in perilous danger.
I love YA books that are adventuresome and have smart girls as main characters. The White Darkness is only a little funny- Sym is one odd duckie- but definitely stark and eerie in a good way.