Cold Spell

Deb Vanasse. Univ. of Alaska, $15.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-60223-242-6
This lyrically written coming-of-age story from Vanasse (A Distant Enemy) grabs you from the opening line and never lets go: “I am a poem, Sylvie once thought, swollen like a springtime river, light swirled in dark, music and memory.” Coming from a broken home, 16-year-old Sylvie is just finding her equilibrium at high school in Pine Lake, Minn., when her mother, Ruth, decides to move the family—comprising Sylvie and her younger sister, Anne—to the Alaskan hinterlands. Ruth’s new boyfriend, Kenny, is located in the area, but more importantly, so is the glacier with which she has become mysteriously fascinated. Although Sylvie longs for home and for her absent father, she discovers that this lonely section of the country is populated with a diverse, big-hearted bunch, including Kenny’s no-nonsense mother, Lena, and the hands-on, super-friendly Tommy. Sylvie also starts a tentative relationship with a boy her own age, the vulnerable Brody, whose mother is dying of cancer. This is also the story of Ruth, who must confront her own demons and come to grips with her failed marriage. In the stirring finale, Sylvie commits a rebellious yet redemptive act that perfectly encapsulates one remarkable young woman’s passage into adulthood. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/30/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
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