Six ninth grade students from San Francisco are on their way back from a chess tournament in Europe when their plane has electrical malfunctions and crash-lands on a tiny island near Greenland. They are a team of the best chess players in their town, and their team name is the title of the book. Despite that theme, there’s almost no actual chess in the book, though logical thinking does play an important role. The three girls, Natalie, Cindy and Alexis, and the three boys, George, Liam and Spider, have quickly defined distinct personalities and approaches to problems, but they are friends, and a true team, and the disaster they find themselves in is another set of problems they set their intelligence and creativity to solve. Unlike most of the passengers, they are soon able to help by finding food in the snowy, barren island, like mussels and fish and seaweed, and they also help mediate arguments between passengers, and disputes over their meager resources. Before long they’ve set up a system to help everyone survive until help can arrive, whenever that is.
That’s only act one of this excellent story, act two takes place when they’re home, but is equally well told and fun to read. I loved the characters, and especially the way they solved problems and worked together, even in the face of hardship and danger. In act two, the danger is a different sort, but even more challenging. This is the first book of a trilogy. I hope to read the others as well.