cover image Two Degrees

Two Degrees

Alan Gratz. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-338-73567-3

Deftly balancing four teens’ perilous, climate change–related experiences, Gratz (Ground Zero) specifically centers scenarios around the earth’s warming by two degrees. With urgency, the tense narrative alternates between three story lines, following 13-year-old Norwegian American Akira Kristiansen, who rides her horse through the Sierra Nevada range in California as a wildfire spreads; white 13-year-old Owen Mackenzie and his Mushkegowuk best friend George Gruyère in Churchill, Manitoba—the “polar bear capital of the world”—who are attacked by a hungry mother polar bear after they get too close to her cubs; and Puerto Rican seventh grader Natalie Torres, who must evacuate as a hurricane heads for Miami. Gratz renders pulse-pounding ecological tales and high-stakes calamity with the brisk pacing of a thriller, interweaving the cast’s thoughtfully wrought plights while ensuring that all survival-oriented strands prove equally urgent. This gripping, timely tale offers a meditative call to action about a global crisis, culminating in a tidy, if didactic, resolution. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)