In 1968, at the height of the Civil Rights struggle, Jessie Stackhouse leaves home to break the color line at an elite, all-white prep school. He arrives filled with dreams of winning championships and eventually playing in the NHL, but soon finds that the coach doesn't want him there and neither do most of his teammates. They'll go to almost any extreme to make him leave. Jessie must overcome not only the team in the other locker room, but the even more dangerous one in his own.
"Rabbit" Labelle loves football, but the tiny, rural Maine town where he lives isn't big enough to support a team. After his father moves the family to the big, bad city, Rabbit finally gets his chance to play the sport he loves the most, but he must also confront the dangers of "Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin." Since it's 1967 and…
“Hendrickson’s debut novel paints a gripping account of a courageous young man rising above evil.” – Booklist
“A worthy, if heartwrenching read.... The best of humanity is explored – and some of the worst, exposed. It is very readable, written with a clear and powerful voice, and is engaging from beginning to end.” – Long and Short Reviews (four stars)
“One of the most interesting books I’ve read this year, a one-of-a-kind book.” – Reading in Color
“Cracking the Ice scores the literary equivalent of a hat-trick: funny, harrowing and finally, heartfelt. This book is a winner.” – Greg Neri, author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty, a 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor book
“I started reading Cracking the Ice and could not put it down. Jessie Stackhouse’s generosity, hope, and intelligence touched my heart.... Usually I go to bed early; however, I kept reading Cracking the Ice until I turned to the last page.” – Joyce Carol Thomas, National Book Award and American Book Award winner.
“A compelling, civil rights tale of a young man’s coming of age on the ice. Hendrickson personalizes history with unforgettable characters.” – Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of Ninth Ward, a 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor book