Thin Ice

Thin Ice

3.31 (201 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 
3.31 (201 ratings by Goodreads)

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Where would you rather live - in a lonely flat with your drunk father, only bearable when your big brother is home? Or in a small, snowy village with a frozen lake, where your aunt burns books to keep the house warm, and a girl called Pi makes your heart beat a bit too fast, and your cranky old neighbour teaches you to catch fish that look like ice dragons, and a hawk owl watches out for you by night?

Mik has been skating on thin ice his entire life. When he is forced to leave his new home with his aunt Lena, he leaves behind icy northern Sweden and all his new friends, and his life becomes a living nightmare. Through forests and along train lines, over rapids and waterfalls, Mik is determined that nothing will stop him from finding home at last.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 282 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 20mm | 390g
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • English
  • 1908195002
  • 9781908195005
  • 826,980

About Mikael Engstrom

Mikael Engstroem was born in 1961 and grew up in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. In the mid-1980s he studied photography for two years and started writing seriously. Nowadays he earns his living as a freelance journalist and photographer. Thin Ice, published to great acclaim in Sweden (under the title Isdrgen) and translated into several languages, is his first children's book.
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Rating details

201 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 15% (31)
4 34% (68)
3 25% (50)
2 18% (36)
1 8% (16)

Our customer reviews

Mik immediately stole into my heart with his realistic portrayal of being the son of a drunk, the younger brother of a rebellious teen, and his journey of dodging the foster care system and trying to find a home for himself. Sometimes nerve-wrecking and constantly engaging, I very much enjoyed Thin Ice. Note that this is a translated work and a children's book, therefore the writing might seem choppy and short to adults. Set in atmospheric Sweden, I would recommend Thin Ice for lovers of young contemporary books that aren't too more
by Celine
This book was simply not for me. There were certain aspects of it that I liked but as a whole, but I couldn't connect with it on any level. The characters in the book seemed really flat and quite odd, especially the ones in the small town Mik's Aunt Lena lives. You'd think that them being a bunch of odd townsfolk would give them a bit of depth. However they all seemed just that: odd. It's almost as if they were odd because they were townies and townies are supposed to be odd. They were fun to read about because they definitely made the story livelier by just how weird they all are (there's this girl who sucked on Mik's earlobe when they met. How weird and inappropriate is that?) but I just didn't care about them at all. Their weirdness was entertaining but not endearing. Mik was well developed, I got to give him that. He went through a lot of pains living with a perpetually drunk father then eventually being passed around by social services. However there were more moments where I felt like he was being a big brat. I guess I can't blame him though - he's just a kid, clueless to everything that's happening around him, forced to deal with a really difficult situation. I did like reading about his gradual (bordering on too slow) transformation. I do have to say though that what the story lacked in character development made up for with adventures. Considering the protagonist in the book is a boy with kids around the same age as him, I'd say their adventures were well written and highly imaginative. It all seemed Sadly though, that wasn't enough for me to like the book entirely. The way the story ended wasn't really appealing. It was almost like everything happened because that's what happy endings are about but it wasn't written in a better way. Speaking of writing, I had trouble getting into the story because of how the chapters were cut and sentences were formed. It was almost like most of the time, the writing felt....distant. Detached. Emotionless. (Awkward.) I could only feel Mik's emotions whenever he wrote to his brother Tony about the weird things he witnessed, or how he felt when he went to a new school, or what he did whenever he was scared. But I didn't get as much insight from him as I'd hoped. 6th graders are allowed to have some insight, right? Maybe this could be due to the fact that this is an English translation. Perhaps things got "lost in translation." I don't know. The writing was a bit off. I can see how this book could work for some readers, especially those who's read enough books in this category but for me... not so much. At most, I thought it was more
by Isabel Gomez
I really enjoyed the sense of adventure in Thin Ice, and descriptions of life in Sweden.  Mik is what I would expect any boy in Grade 6 to be like - day-dreaming and living in his own world, but not a character who is especially easy to connect with.  There are a lot of other fun and colorful personalities in the book, but many lack depth.  What bothered me the most about Thin Ice though, was how it became a re-occurring theme that Mik would throw a tantrum when things weren't going his way, and then get exactly what he wanted.  By the end of the book, I was getting really tired of witnessing his more
by Book Wookie
Mik is a boy who has a difficult life, scary and difficult at times. He's a character that I had a hard time connecting with at first because he was not a boy with a desirable personality. He's incorrigible, played pranks on people, throwing insults their way because he thinks they deserve them. The way he behaves is inexcusable, but as I read along, I see Mik's life and how dark and painful it is to live it. When you live with a drunken father, it's hard to become a good kid. But my hate quickly turned into something else. In between the humorous parts, readers will get to take a glimpse on how Mik's life really is, the painful, sad moments that filled it and these scenes made me understand Mik a bit more. Thin Ice had an ensemble of unusual characters that gives the book a certain charm. Mik's aunt burns books just to keep herself warm. There's this girl who likes to suck on other people's earlobes, which I have to say is not something one ordinarily does. These characters makes Selet an interesting town with the way they interact with each other. It's heartwarming, especially knowing that it's a cold town filled with snow. The combination of the oddness of the people and the humor creates such a fun atmosphere. They're old but the wisdom one can get from them is something that makes Selet a town a good place to be. The prose can be awkward at times but this is understandable because the book has been translated to English. It can't be helped, but I did appreciate the effort put in the translation because Thin Ice is still a nice read. The story's pace can be very, very slow at certain times, but it's a good story of friendship, filled with hope and a child's determination to create the life that he wants to have, to not be stuck with a drunken father and to get away from all the glumness of his life. From being an annoying brat to a child filled with courage and hope, Mik became a character whose story sends a great message to the readers, as seen to the many adventures he had with his more
by Kai Agito
Thin Ice was a too slowly paced book with awkward prose and poorly developed characters save for Mik. I liked the layering of the story. It portrayed the bitterness and glumness of Mik's life while being well balanced with humour and the wisdom of the old and the odd. I enjoyed the heart warming togetherness of the community and the adventures of Mik and his friends. I just couldn't connect with the characters and the majority of the book was unfortunately quite more
by Vashael
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