Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teen/YA Review: Icecore

Publisher’s Weekly said, “If Robert Ludlum ever wrote a book for teens, it would probably be a lot like Whyman’s action-packed techno-thriller.” I don’t normally quote other reviews, but this statement just seems perfect for Icecore, a new teen thriller by Matt Whyman. My 15-year old son recently read this exciting suspense novel and recommended it, and now I understand why.

Seventeen-year old British computer hacker Carl Hobbes is shocked when American agents pick him up on his way home from school and take him into custody. Sure, he hacked his way into Fort Knox – which is supposed to be impenetrable – but it was just for fun, to see if he could do it. No one got hurt from his prank, right? But the American government doesn’t think it was funny at all, especially as gold bars from Fort Knox start ending up in the hands of terrorists all over the world.

At the police station, Carl’s assigned lawyer tells him about his offer:

“It’s from the American authorities,” she began, as if this made it something I couldn’t refuse. I’m not sure what I expected to hear. When Ms. Greene finished, I asked her to repeat it so I could be sure I hadn’t missed some kind of catch.

According to her, I had actually been invited by the Americans to fly out and answer some friendly questions. This wasn’t an order, she stressed. It was a request for me to come voluntarily. Once they understood exactly how I had managed to hack into such a high-security financial institution, they would put me on a plane home again. I wouldn’t be arrested or earn any criminal conviction. Not a caution or even a fine. As part of this package, my father would be forbidden to talk to the press, as would I on my return. In fact, they proposed that the whole thing would be kept completely off the record.

It sounds like a good idea, but Carl soon realizes he’s gotten into more than he bargained for, as he is transported secretly to a military prison deep in the Arctic among world-famous terrorists and his questioning takes some surprising turns.

This is an action-packed thriller, with plenty of unexpected plot twists to keep you glued to the page. I grew to like Carl and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to him. My son and I are both looking forward to the upcoming sequel, Goldstrike.

307 pages, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)


Darlyn said...

wow, the book sounds fabulous. a computer hacker is something new for a character instead of a vampire nowadays. =)

Jan von Harz said...

This is just the type of book I really enjoy reading. I have read all of Ludlum's books so the reference really caught my attention. I am also a big Horowitz fan and Ridley Pearson's Steel Trapp, both remind me of this book. I will be on the look out for this one.

Andrea said...

Sounds great! I'll have to check it out. Kind of like Artemis Fowl but sans fairies.

visionbird said...

I would humbly like to suggest my own novel, "The Steam Magnate" which Library Journal reviewed as being appropriate for adult or young adult audiences. My blog introduces the book and has links to my publisher, Aio Publishing.

The story has elements of 'Gothic Romance' but is not in any way overt or adult, so is OK for teens 15+ I would think, if they enjoy the writing style. Much of the book is centred on world building, but more in terms of atmosphere than encyclopedic detail. It is likely to be available at a library in your city, if you want to read beyond the excerpts on my blog and Aio's site.



Sue Jackson said...


Glad Icecore sounds good to you - all three of us enjoyed it! My 15-year old son also likes Horowitz, but he hasn't tried any Ridley Pearson books (except for his collaboration with Dave Barry on the Peter Pan series), so I'll suggest Steel Trapp to him. Thanks for the recommendation!