Friday 30 December 2022

Two Degrees

Two Degrees, Alan Gratz, (Scholastic) Paperback RRP $17.99  9 780702 323249

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

A new book by number one New York bestselling author Alan Gratz is a thrilling, publishing moment. The author of Ground Zero and Refugee tackles climate change in a breathtaking action-packed story. Four teens battle to survive in a gripping climate change thriller.

Alan Gratz has thoroughly researched to create a book that is not only a thrilling read but an informative one. In parallel narratives, four teens simultaneously experience three different climate change events on three different continents. Gratz plunges the middle grade schoolers into very desperate, life-threatening situations – fire, flood, ice.

Akira is in California riding her horse in the woods when a wildfire sparks and grows at a frightening super speed. How will she make it to safety when there are flames everywhere? Owen and his best friend George live on the snowy Canadian tundra with polar bears. A bear gets too close and stalks the boys. Will they survive relentless polar bear attacks? Natalie bunkers down in Miami as a massive hurricane lashes her city. The floodwaters crash into her house and Natalie is dragged out into the storm. She is powerless to the rages of the storm.

The writing is masterful and excellent. Each page is not only gripping but page turning. The action starts in the very first sentence and then continues throughout the whole book. Just as the characters have very little time so does the reader, as they too live and breathe the moments along with the characters. ‘Dad look. A wildfire!’ Akira Kristiansen cried. She pointed down the mountain trail, where a thin. Gray wisp of smoke rose from the trees in the valley. Climate change and animal information is woven into the text with character dialogue and in the general storyline. ‘He’s a big boy, isn’t he? George said quietly. ‘Maybe he'll fall through the ice?’ ‘Probably not,’ Owen said. ‘A polar bear’s wide paws distribute its weight as it walks.’

This is a book that shows that a great deal of time and care has been taken to get it right to deliver the messages the author intends to encourage thought and action. I was wondering how the ending would tie all three threads together and it doesn’t disappoint. But I won’t let the cat out of the bag. The author’s note at the end gives detailed information about his sources, and inspiration from real life people and events that helped him create this story.


Two Degrees is a gripping 384-page book for children 8 years and up that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they dive into the action.  It’s a book that is sure to appeal to children, teachers, and schools.  The focus upon friendship and connection ties the plot together beautifully.

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