By Annie Brulatour
Fourteen-year-old McKenna Barney has a massive secret - her eyesight is rapidly deteriorating. As she struggles to keep this to herself and maintain her independence, she has slowly isolated herself from her friends and family. Now, McKenna is at risk of losing the one thing she loves most: dog sledding. But when her younger sister Emma, who is also steadily losing her vision, begs her to participate in The Great Superior Mail Race, McKenna can’t refuse.
Now McKenna must deal with the intense Canadian wilderness for a three-day race and will be challenged in ways she could never imagine. Fortunately, there are two other teens in the race: Harper, who doesn’t particularly like dog racing but wants to please her family, and Guy, a long-time dogsledder hoping a victory might save his father’s delivery business. Even as they compete, the three find surprising ways to support each other and their dog teams.
Dog Driven is a fast-paced tale of adventure and grit, great for fans of Alan Gratz and Jason Reynold’s Track series. McKenna’s journey to help her sister and confront her own impending blindness is deeply moving. Her competitiveness and the thrill of a dog race through Canada keeps the book energized from start to finish. Touches of historical fiction are also included, highlighting dog sledding history in Northern Canada and Alaska, giving the story an interesting depth. The combination of adventure, suspense, and amazing animals makes Dog Driven a great choice for reluctant or indecisive readers.