Alaska (German version: Für immer Alaska) is the name of a book by Dutch author Anna Woltz. It also is the name of the dog that connects the two protagonists. Parker has to give her beloved dog Alaska away due to the fact that her little brother is allergic. She knows Alaska is now an assistance dog – but she does know nothing about its new owner. By chance, she finds out that the new boy in her class, Sven, is the one who adopted Alaska. She sees Sven treat the dog unkindly and decides to steal Alaska back. (German version of the book is Für immer Alaska)
Sven is a fourteen year old boy. He has developed epilepsy about a year ago. Before that he was in the swimming team of his old school. When his seizures started he was forced to leave school and stay in hospital for a while. Of course, he will never swim again as it is too dangerous a sport for him now. With his condition somewhat under control he starts a new year in a new school. Sven just wants people to think of him as a normal, cool guy before they find out that he is sick. He doesn’t want to be pitied by others.
Parker is a thirteen year old girl and somewhat of an outsider. She had a tough summer holiday. First, she had to give away her beloved dog Alaska because of her brother’s allergy to it. Then her parent’s store got robbed, her father was shot in the shoulder and Parker saw everything. She wants her dog back and wants to find the people who hurt her parents. Back in school, she witnessed one of Sven’s seizures and helped him when nobody else was around.
Tamara (Original Character)
Tamara is the most popular girl at school and fancies Sven. She wants him to come along to the beach because she would like to impress him in her bathing suit. She doesn’t like Parker because Parker is plain and nerdy.
I was looking at pictures of Alaska again. I know, I know… I made a promise to myself not to do that anymore. But last night my father woke us all up with one of his nightmares again. I suppose that is what being shot at does to a person. Whatever, it was scary as hell hearing my father scream in pain in the middle of the night. I wish I could cuddle with Alaska one more time, put my nose in her fluffy fur and forget about everything for a minute. But all I have left of her was pictures, memories. And they are fading. It was Tamara’s exited voice that made me look up from my phone. There she was standing next to the pingpong table on which Sven was sitting reading a book. She was playing with a strand of her long blonde hair, winding it around her index finger and smiling at him like a lunatic. Sven, of course, smiled back. Which boy wouldn’t want the attention of the most popular girl at school?
“Everybody is going to the beach after school. Are you coming?”, she asked.
It stung me to hear Tamara speak of “everyone”. I certainly did not go to the beach. As usual, nobody bothered to invite me. Who would want to be seen with the weirdest girl in school, let alone with the weirdest girl wearing a bathing suit? Never mind. I was already looking at my phone again, when Tamara said something that did surprise me.
“Come on”, Tamara said putting on her sweetest smile, “which 100m freestyle winner doesn’t like the water?”
Sven grinned but to me he looked like he had bitten on something sour.
I raised my brow. What was she talking about? Nobody in their right minds would allow a boy with epilepsy in the water.
“Pity this school hasn’t got a swimming team”, Sven said casually.
A weird sound must have escaped my mouth as it sometimes happened because Sven and Tamara were staring at me as if I wasn’t right in the head.
“Something the matter, four-eyes?”, asked Tamara and stuck out her breasts just enough to let me know she got them and I didn’t, yet.
I ignored her and looked at Sven questioningly. He tried to hold my gaze but couldn’t. He stared at his fingers instead. I noticed that his hand trembled slightly which made me very nervous. Was it about to happen again? Would he fall to the ground shaking uncontrollably with nobody around but me. Well, I said to myself while I packed my phone into my bag with one determined move and got up, this time somebody else is around.
“Starting this year our school will have a swimming team”, I said matter-of-factly. “Mr. Louis is still recruiting.” My voice took on a biting tone. “I’ll tell him you are interested. I’m sure he will go ballistic if he hears a 100m freestyle winner joined our school.”
Sven made a face like he wanted to respond. But before he could say anything, I turned around and went in direction of the school building just as the bell started to ring.