Friday, February 28, 2014

Review of 'Two Degrees From Zero' by M.J. Stewart

Two Degrees From Zero
by M.J. Stewart


Thirteen-year-old Derek’s cool snowboard adventure does a dangerous rewind, because his Burton Hero board holds the key to an unsolved crime.

Two Degrees From Zero is a story that opens up the world of snowboarding and surviving hazardous winter conditions in Keystone, Colorado.

Derek, his mom, and teen friend Janae (The Clan) are invited on a snowboarding vacation by his mom’s new romance Thomas. A blizzard hits during a sleigh ride and dinner at an isolated yurt miles from Keystone. The Clan accepts an offer from two arrogant snowmobilers for a way home. But to The Clan's dismay instead of going home, they are abandoned in a creepy backwoods cabin.

Derek and Janae sneak out of the old cabin and make a dangerous trek across a white wilderness to find help while the snowmobilers are on the loose. Just as the teens find temporary shelter in an old car, another blizzard rages all night, leaving them hopelessly stranded. And their adventure has only begun.

Derek and Janae must escape the frozen ravages of the blizzard. Derek’s determination to save The Clan while outwitting the thieves is unstoppable. And the thieves are just as determined to find Derek’s snowboard because of the valuable information hidden on the board.

Read an excerpt:
Shelter for the evening appeared in the form of an abandoned car hunkered in the deep snow.

“What the heck?” As he got a better look, the form reminded him of his family’s old car—the Pontiac his dad owned as a young man. And the same metallic blue gleamed in the setting sun.

Derek did an awkward happy dance on one foot. “Looky-look. Maybe our luck is changing. The miracle we needed.” Shelter from the biting wind, relief for his swollen ankle, and a place to rest his aching muscles.

Janae burst out in shrill laughter. “If we can get the doors open, we can drive home.”

But the more Derek checked out the car, the more his heart sank. I can’t do this, I can’t. Suddenly, his feeling of relief turned to anger, and emotions overtook his tired, weak mind. He stepped backward and turned from the car.

“What’s wrong now?” Janae asked.

“I can’t do this.”

“Can’t do what?” Janae asked.

“That car. It’s just like my dad’s old car. I can’t get in,” Derek said. He froze in his tracks like a marble statue a few feet away.

“I don’t understand. What is your problem. We’re kinda desperate, and we don’t have a choice. We’ll be in trouble tonight if we don’t have shelter,” Janae reminded him.

“You can sleep inside, but I’m not. I’ll have nightmares about him again. I can’t,” Derek said.

**My thoughts**

I found the beginning of the book a little confusing, as Derek first started to interact with the thieves and the Clan was taken to the abandoned cabin in the remote woods. I had a hard time believing that Derek's mom would allow for the kids to ride off with strangers, no matter how much they wanted to get back to their hotel. Once Derek and Janae took off to try to find help, I was able to get into the story.

Derek is an absolute mess, because he has never been able to forgive himself for the part he feels he played in his father's death. He is still angry and takes it out on everyone around him. When he and Janae take off in the wee hours to try to find help, he is seeking vindication and trying to make up for his past. You want to smack the kids for being stupid and taking off without telling the adults, but are glad that they have each other. Janae really is a good friend to Derek. 

It is also interesting to read about how they try to survive out in the wilderness. It's a good springboard for conversations about what you should and shouldn't do if you ever get stranded out in the snow. 

If you're looking for a story that is about the sport of snowboarding, this is not going to be the right book for you, despite the subtitle. A snowboarding adventure does set this story into motion, but is not the main focus of the book.

Available on Amazon

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

M.J. Stewart is a Colorado author and lives in Colorado Springs. Her love for the outdoors has provided many exciting adventures and include downhill skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and nature photography.

I'm on Facebook at:

I'm on Twitter at: @hike4ski

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!