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Lucy Kovaliv

Stars of the North

A race across Alaska, and a hunt for priceless treasure

Ten-year-old Patricia “Puck” O’Malley lives with her brother, dad, Bill and grandparents in Moose Ridge, Yukon, Canada. Her mom, Cindy, died of leukaemia when she was just seven years old. Puck’s dad, Bill, owns and trains twenty-four working sled dogs, and prior to his wife’s death, he was a dog-sled racer. Bill had to abandon his last race, the Iditarod, when Cindy became seriously ill. The Iditarod is a dog sled race across Alaska, from Anchorage to Nome. Bill promised Cindy that one day he would finish the Iditarod and signs up for the next race. As Bill prepares for the race, Puck is curious to know what is in an old, abandoned house in their neighbourhood. She persuades her friend, Mary, to explore the spooky house and they take the sled dogs along for the ride. As they search the house, the girls find a painting of a mysterious man, with the name Romanov scribed on the plaque. They find a number of other paintings, locked doors and cabinets, weapons, hidden keys and secret trap doors, which further sparks their curiosity. As the girls investigate further, they discover that the paintings and artefacts could be worth millions of dollars.

Bill sets off for his race in Alaska. He has a slow start and faces a number of obstacles along the way, including a severe snowstorm, a treacherous icy lake, and a devious competitor determined to interfere with the race. Meanwhile, the girls go back to the house to find Mary’s lost scarf, but they are apprehended by an intruder. No-one knows their whereabouts and the girls are in serious danger. Pucks grandparents report the girls missing and have no choice but to call her dad in Alaska. How will the girls escape? Will the thief find the priceless treasures? And will Bill have to abandon the race again to find his daughter?

Stars of the North is a thrilling, action-packed, mystery novel for middle grade readers by author Lucy Kovaliv. The author has seamlessly woven two parallel stories into one, which makes this an exciting and captivating read. The characters are well developed and likeable, and I was routing for father and daughter throughout. I particularly enjoyed the setting of this novel in the snowiest parts of the Yukon and Alaska and learning more about the majestic husky dogs.

This is a fabulous read for middle grade readers and young adult readers alike.

Star rating: 5 Stars

Summary: A thrilling, action-packed, mystery novel for middle-grade readers set in Yukon and Alaska.

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