CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 28. . . .March 23, 2018
W. C. Mack.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2018.
191 pp., trade pbk. & ebook, $8.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-4868-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-4869-6 (ebook).
Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Libby McKeever.
Nolan snorted. “Snowboarding’s for losers.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! “Uh, try telling that to D-Day, Matty Doakes or Cody White.”
I glanced out the window, wishing I was up on that snow-covered mountain. If I was a pro, I’d never have to deal with jerks like this!
“Like I care about Cody White,” Nolan sneered.
What? He couldn’t be serious.
“Are you kidding me? The guy’s won medals for snowboarding and skateboarding and—"
“Who are you, his mom?” Nolan sneered.
“No, I’m…” I took a deep breath, amazed that he’d given me the perfect opening so soon. It was now or never. “I’m his cousin.”
I waited for the gasps of shock and awe, but there was silence.”
“Yeah, right,” Tyler said, rolling his eyes.
“You’re a liar,” Nolan agreed.
Before I could say anything more, a woman with short dark hair and bright green glasses walked into the room and everyone stopped talking.
“Steven?” she asked, scanning the room. “Steven White?”
“See?” I heard the glitter girl whisper to the jerks. “Steven White.”
Steven White was dreading school. Even though it was only a week before the Christmas break, his parents insisted that both he and his brother Thomas attend their new school. It would be a good chance to make friends, his parents had argued. This seemed to be easy for Thomas. Every time they’d moved, Thomas had made friends quickly and effortlessly. But for Steven, he always felt like an outsider and never seemed to fit in. This was their seventh move in his 13 years, and the prospect of new faces and trying to make friends made Steven feel sick.
The one positive thing about their move to Timber, a small town in the Oregon mountains, was the ski hill. Steven was a keen snowboarder; he knew everything there was to know about the pros, and the mountain was just outside his window. Maybe this wouldn’t be too bad, and surely there were some kids he could go snowboarding with. He decided he needed some way of making himself popular to find some friends. When Thomas commented that it would cool if they were related to Cody White, a 16-year-old pro snowboarder, Steven knew he had the answer to be instantly popular.
Things didn’t start well though as, when he was walking to school on the first day, he was sideswiped by the class bullies, Tyler and Nolan. When they then accused him of lying about his relationship with Cody White and demanded ‘proof’ in the form on one of Cody’s gold medals, Steven knew he was caught. The week ended with the whole school ignoring him, and Steven hoped that they would forget his lie after the Christmas break.
Steven managed to convince his parents that he was old enough to ride on his own, and he left his troubles behind each day as he flew down the mountain. After seeing a snowboarder all dressed in black catch air and do tricks in tough terrain, Steven watched for him everywhere, hoping to strike up a conversation. When they crashed, Steven realized it was D-Day, one of this favourite pro snowboarders. D-Day though gave him a false name, and Steven decided to let it go as D-Day asked if he’d like to ride with him. They teamed up and spent their days on the hill. Steven road faster and tried tricks he never would have before as he tried to keep up with the older boy.
When D-Day finally admits who he is, he was firm that he wanted to lay low and that he was not interested in anyone knowing who he was. But when Steven seizes the chance to ask D-Day to corroborate his lie about being Cody White’s cousin and in front of his classmates, D-Day is hurt and angry. After making a mess of their growing friendship, Steven realized he needed to begin thinking of others and understood that he was not the only one who might be running away from the truth.
Whiteout is a fast-paced, easy read that will appeal to many readers. The excitement of the snowboarding scenes and the details of a snowboarder’s life are interesting and engaging. Readers will be able to relate to being the odd one out, being teased and wanting to be popular. They also will empathize with Steven as he gets caught in a lie and will know how hard it is to work up the courage to make things right by telling the truth.
Author Mack was born in Vancouver, BC, and now lives in Portland, OR. She is a avid fan of many sports, and her mid-grade novels are sport-themed with stories about volleyball, basketball and hockey. These titles include: Hat Trick, Line Change, Breakaway, and three titles in the “Mathlete vs. Athlete” series. Mack had been nominated and a finalist for many children’s and young readers’ awards.
Libby McKeever is a retired Youth Services Librarian from Whistler, BC.
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