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Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Historical/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date: 7/16/2009

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About the Book: It's 1910 and Einar and his family are living in a small cabin in the Arctic Circle. Sig has just discovered that his fathers sled fell through the ice when trying to cross. Now Sig waits alone in the cabin with his fathers corpse, waiting for help to arrive. A stranger appears at the door, demanding that Sig give him his share the gold Einar had stolen from him. Sig knows nothing of the gold and must find a way to escape the strange man and save himself.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: In my attempt to read all the award books this year, I picked up Revolver. I don't know if I would have picked it up if it wasn't for the Printz Honor, so I'm grateful for the award for forcing me to read it!

I really enjoyed Revolver and I think readers who like suspense and mystery stories will love this one. I also think teens who enjoy survival stories will be drawn into this story. It's historical, but not so historical that teens who aren't fans of historical fiction are turned off by the historical setting. I think if you sell it as a suspenseful mystery and survival story, you'll have teens picking this one up.

The book is told in present time and in flashbacks. We know what's happening presently with Sig as he's trapped in the cabin with the strange, Wolff. We also get a storyline of what happened leading up to this point. We learn how Einar and his family came to their cabin, about Einar's job working with the gold miners, his mother's love for the Bible and his father's respect for a gun. All of this adds up to a compelling mystery.

The chapters are short which make this a fast read and there's enough suspense that this should be an easy sell to reluctant readers. I'm adding it to my list of books to recommend when a teen says they hate reading-it has a lot that will hook readers.

I think what I enjoyed most about the book is the authors look at how there isn't an easy way out. Often choices aren't just godo or bad, but a third option is there- you just have to look for. This theme runs throughout the book and I think it's what made me really like the book overall.

Audiobook Note: I did listen to this one on audio and I have to say that while I liked the narrator, it never felt like a historical novel to me. The narrators voice just felt too modern. I don't know if this was just the voice or the actual text of the book though that felt more modern. And I don't know what a "historical voice" would be exactly, just that the narrator didn't quite fit for me. He wasn't bad, just not my fit for this book.

Book Pairings: Gary Paulsen and Will Hobbs survival stories

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I purchased from Audible


  1. Great review! I'm glad I added this book to my Donors Choose fundraiser :) I'm always looking for books that pair well with Gary Paulsen.

  2. The book pairing with Gary Paulsen intrigued me. "Hatchet" is one of my favorite children's book when I was a kid. I'll have to look into this one. Thanks for the review, Sarah!

  3. I love Sedgwick's books, and Revolver is one of my favourites. He's so good at building atmosphere.

  4. I just ordered this one from the library. I can't help believing that reading all of these survival books may be useful someday.


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About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee