7 Monniger takes a fairly standard foster-kid plot and revivifies it through his spare and finely-honed style. Baby's voice has more than a touch of Hemingway to it . . .
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The girl's first-person voice, the backdrop, and the details work together well to set this story apart from the many in which troubled teens find solace in animals.
The prose style is spare, evoking the harsh winter landscape. A new setting for a somewhat familiar theme.
The novel has a fascinating setting for this story of a troubled teen. The information about the dogs, a well as the sled competitions, adds a surprisingly poignant dimension to a familiar plotline.
This wonderful coming-of-age novel has at its heart the healing power of nature. In this well-written tale, the author skillfully utilizes his love and understanding of sledding to weave a story of the redemptive and restorative power of animals.
—School Library Journal
Monninger captures the thrill of racing sled dogs and Baby's struggle to learn new choices. His smooth plot and non-sentimental prose will pull both males and females effortlessly along the trail. Yet his understated comparisons of animals to humans will leave readers much to ponder after they reach the finish line. A simple story, beautifully told.
Monninger gives Baby the space to find beauty in the crackling cold of the North Woods and confidence in the thrill of racing. Readers will be as aware of what’s going on as Baby is, but the unfolding of her story is neatly done.