5. Wilderness

by Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle is a favorite Irish author in this household. Among his best novels are Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, A Star Called Henry and the Barrytown series: The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. WIlderness, however, is a "young readers" book about a Dublin family that books an adventurer vacation in Finland.

It's really only the mother and two sons that go, while dad and daughter have the good sense to stay home. The daughter, Grainne, is to meet her biological mother for the first time since mom abandoned her in early childhood, while the boys and step mom travel to the icy north. Both stories are told in alternating chapters.

The boys have a thrill a minute as they bounce around in sleds pulled by hearty huskies. Grainne's experience at home is a sort of emotional wilderness as she reunites with her mother. Part roaring adventure, part family drama.

You get the idea. It's fun.

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