Skating Over Thin Ice
by Jean Mills
Red Deer Press, 2018
$14.95 (sc), 432 pp, ages 15 – 18
Skating Over Thin Ice tells the story of Imogen St. Pierre, a socially awkward piano prodigy, in her final year of high school. Imogen describes herself as weird. This is partly because she feels that she is the reason her mother left home when she was 7, and because she struggles with meeting new people because she doesn’t understand them, like she does her music. Now 18, Imogen spends much of her time practising, completing school work, and touring the world, performing with her Papa and Grandpa, who play the cello and violin, respectively. Imogen faces the difficult decision of where she wants to attend university. Should she stay close to home and her ailing grandpa, or go to UBC, the school she wants? While in English class one day, her teacher partners her up with Fredik Floren, her closest friend, and Nathan McCormick. Once thought of as the newest hockey sensation, Nathan’s future now seems hazy after a fight on the ice that resulted in the hospitalization of another player. Kicked off his team, Nathan is lost. As their media project materializes, Imogen and Nathan become closer, eventually becoming friends. Throughout the novel we see these characters grow and choose paths of their own.
What first drew me to this novel was the cover. As a piano player, though obviously not a prodigy like Imogen, it was nice reading about another musician. Some of the things that I thought were odd about myself, with reference to music, Imogen also does. For example, relating everything I do on a daily basis back to my music, or hearing certain piano songs out of thin air, or constantly tapping out piano tunes. It was reassuring to know that other people, though fictional, do these things as well. Skating Over Thin Ice is a beautifully written book, with relatable characters and a well-developed plot. I will definitely be reading this book again in a few months.
Review by Anya, age 17, grade 11.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2019 issue.