The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

The White Darkness

Written by Geraldine McCaughrean

11+ readers   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

What the judges said: McCaughrean’s control of language and style ensures that this novel, with its original and ambitious plot, produces a fast-moving adventure story.

It’s an outstanding survival fantasy that explores the pain of adolescence. The descriptive passages of the frozen Antarctic wastes are bone chillingly real and the gradual unfolding of this pacey story builds to a satisfying climax.


The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

When she is taken on a mystery expedition by her eccentric uncle Victor, Sym can't believe her luck. Destination Antarctica - the very place she's always wanted to visit. But Victor has other plans, more sinister than Sym could possibly imagine. Could it be that Titus, the one who perished in that very place, will be the means of her survival?


'Geraldine McCaughrean has long been a fine novelist; The White Darkness makes her a great one as well. Wickedly funny and diabolically clever ... this has to be one of the most remarkable novels for children published in the last fifty years.'

'A breathtakingly fine novel.'

'The White Darkness is simply brilliant, totally original, always surprising... McCaughrean, as always, writes like a dream.'

'A dazzling, pitiless story about Antarctica. McCaughrean's imagination is fierce, tireless, unpredictable.'

'The White Darkness is as good as it gets.'

'A very disturbing, very dark teen-read Lady Fanciful (Blog) Listed on The Sunday Times'

's Books from the last 10 years'

About the Author

Geraldine McCaughrean

It’s over 30 years now since I first got published, and 50 since I discovered how writing carried me out of my little, everyday world, wherever I chose – way back in Time, to far distant shores, towards my own, home-made happy ending. I write adventure, first and foremost, because that’s what I enjoyed reading as a child. But since I have published over 160 titles now, there are books are every taste and age among them – gorgeously illustrated picture books, easy-readers, prize winners, teenage books and five adult novels (soon to be freshly released as ebooks).

Teen novel The White Darkness won the Printz Award in the USA, which, for this Englishwoman was an amazing, startling thrill. Other prizes have included the Whitbread Children’s Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times), the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Blue Peter Special Book to Keep for Ever. Although I have only won the much coveted Carnegie Medal once, seven of my titles have been shortlisted for it, the latest being The Middle of Nowhere.

Then there is Peter Pan in Scarlet – official sequel to J M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy, written on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I won the chance to write that in a worldwide competition, and because Peter Pan is loved everywhere, my book sold worldwide too. It is soon to appear on stage and, just possibly, in the cinema.

I can’t say I expected any of this when, as a child, I dreamed of being like my older brother and ‘getting a book published one day’.

I was born and grew up in Enfield, North London. I trained as a teacher and then worked for ten years in TV and publishing. These days, I am lucky enough just to stay home and write. I have a husband (good at continuity and spelling) and a daughter who is an excellent editor. Having studied at Rada, she is now an actor so, naturally, I have turned my hand to writing plays. (So many actors, so few plays!) Some of my plays are for schools and young people, so you can find them in book form.

My Mum told me, “Never boil your cabbages twice, dear,” which was her way of saying, “Don’t repeat yourself.” So I have tried never to write the same book twice. You’ll find all my novels quite different from one another. I’m afraid that the only way you can find out which ones you like and which you don’t is to read them. Something for everyone, you see, my dear, young, not-so-young, eccentric, middle-of-the-road, poetical, sad, cheerful, timid or reckless reader. All they have in common is that they contain words. If you are allergic to words, you’d best not open the covers.

Geraldine lives in Berkshire with her husband.

Author photo © Brett Williams U.K.

Anne Fine on Geraldine McCaughrean:

'I reckon Geraldine McCaughrean knocks the socks off every other children's writer today. Everything she does is different and everything works – look at her list of prizes. She must write in tremendous bursts. Some years, she's so prolific the rest of us start joking that the fairies come in at night to do her work for her. Then she'll go quiet, so unlike all those writers who are persuaded by their publishers to come up with something every year, no matter how tired or drab. If Geraldine has nothing fresh to write, she doesn't write it.' (The Guardian)

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


272 pages


Geraldine McCaughrean
More books by Geraldine McCaughrean

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

7th September 2006




It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

I love Lovereading4kids because I get an opportunity to put my opinion forward and to try new books

Elosie Clarkson – age 11

It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

I love ‘LoveReading 4 kids’ because they let you read and learn things you’d never dreamed of learning before.

Emily Horncastle – age 11

LoveReading4Kids is a modern and creative way of emphasising the value and importance of books in this digital age #booksforlife

Amrit Bunet – Teen

Lovereading 4 schools