DOG DRIVEN (With a Giveaway)


Stargardt disease causes progressive damage to the center of the retina, the area responsible for sharp straight-ahead vision. Usually discovered during childhood or adolescence, the disease has no cure.

Driving a dog sled doesn’t sound like such a great idea for someone who has the disease. Just don’t tell McKenna that. With her eyesight getting worse, she’s been challenged to compete in a sled dog race.

Mushers on the ready. We’re off.

Publisher Background for DOG DRIVEN:Dog Driven hi res.jpg

McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness—a race she doesn’t know if she can even see to run.

Winning would mean getting her disease—and her sister’s—national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights.

A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness, Dog Driven is the story of one girl’s self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.

Page Count: 240         Publish Date: December 3, 2019

My Take: The first person narration covers 35 chapters. Perfect for those teachers who keep asking me for books with short chapters, ones they can read aloud with five minutes left before the bell. DOG DRIVEN not only fills that request, but it’s also exciting, revealing, and heartwarming.

Stargardt is not an eye disease I was familiar with and was glad to learn about it through each challenge McKenna must face. The scenes depicting the journey and how the musher must become one with her dogs were beautifully portrayed. The journey is an endeavor like none other filled with icy dangers and chaotic stopping points. McKenna’s plight and the personality of each dog draw the story to a satisfying close—although one you might not expect.

You can’t go wrong on a cold winter day by grabbing a copy of DOG DRIVEN and immersing yourself in the world of dog sledding. It will be a hard one to put down. But we’re not to the finish line yet, because here’s…

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DOG DRIVEN by Terry Lynn Johnson

  1. The secondary characters and their dog teams played a major role in the plot. Guy, with four generations of running dogs and Harper who has the best set of sled dogs. They help McKenna in ways only she can see.
  2. Letters from the present and past appear between many of the chapters. Those from the late 1800s were especially revealing to the difficult nature of delivering mail via dog sled.
  3. McKenna’s internal struggle is realistically portrayed along with how she chooses a course of action.
  4. An adventure story like this could get bogged down with details about the disease. Instead, Stargardts maintains a nice balance with friendships, family, the huge three day trip, and all the preparation needed for a dog sledding competition.
  5. The conflict her parents have over the way to handle their daughters’ future added to the suspense and tension throughout.

GIVEAWAY!!! Win your own copy of this amazing story by making a comment below (Even an I’m in! is okay). One lucky winner will receive a copy of Dog Driven, courtesy of HMH Books for Young Readers (U.S. addresses).


Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Ice Dogs, Sled Dog School, and the Survivor Diaries series, lives in Whitefish Falls, Ontario where for ten years she owned a team of eighteen Alaskan Huskies. Learn more at  Twitter: @TerryLynnJ


The winner of my previous giveaway to win a copy of the stunning new ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN INDIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE is Antoinette Truglio Martin. She blogs over at Stories Served Around the Table. Congratulations Antoinette!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to DOG DRIVEN (With a Giveaway)

  1. I’m in the middle of reading this now, so I’ll have to come and read through your review again when I’m done. So far, it’s a pretty good story and glad to see you liked it.

  2. Having been on a dogsled trip, I’m always curious to read about them. Still thinking about writing my own MG adventure story one day. This one’s on the top of my TBR list now. Thanks Greg, for sharing it.

  3. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I read Ice Dogs and loved it, so I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for this one. Thank you for the chance to win a copy–adventure stories are always hard to put down.

  4. I don’t know anything about either Stargardt disease or dog sled racing, so I’m sure I’d learn a lot from this book. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Denise Q says:

    Can’t wait to read this one with my daughter. Thanks for the review.

  6. I have loved other books by Terry Lynn Johnson. This one sounds equally riveting. Thanks for the heads up. I will look for this one.

  7. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like such a great book! It’s great to see characters who can overcome illnesses and ailments to fulfill their dreams. Thanks so much for the review!

  8. I have a copy, but thanks for a great review. I got the ARC of this last March, so I’m glad it’s finally out! Great minds, indeed!

  9. Natalie Aguirre says:

    I loved Ice Dogs. So glad how Terry’s career has taken off. My TBR stack is high so I’ll let someone else win this.

  10. This sounds like an amazing story! I love the historical angles of the letters from the past along with the history of dog sledding. Most importantly, I enjoy stories where the protagonists overcome great obstacles and challenges to reach a goal. I have not heard of this particular eye disease, and I think it’s important for kids to learn compassion from reading about the struggles of others. I’m in! Thanks for the excellent post for MMGM, Greg.

  11. Renee Grandinetti says:

    This sounds like a fantastic story.

  12. I didn’t know Terry had released a new book. And I never heard of this eye disease! Terry writes such thrilling survival stories and I usually review them. Can’t wait to get my hands on her new novel! I loved Ice Dogs and Sled Dogs, and I’m delighted she has another story to tell! Count me in.

  13. Pingback: The 2019 Golden Cup Awards | Always in the Middle…

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