cover image The Way Past Winter

The Way Past Winter

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illus. by Lauren O’Hara. Chronicle, $17.99 (284p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8155-4

Five years before this volume’s start, Mila’s father abandoned her family as Eldbjørn Forest and its surrounding lands, including their family home, was plunged into a never-ending winter that transformed their way of life to one of cold and hunger. Now Mila, 12, and her siblings—older sister Sanna, brother Oskar, and younger sister Pípa—eke out a meager existence near the forest. After a mysterious group of purportedly wealthy travelers spirit Oskar away with the boys of nearby Stavgar, Mila speaks with Rune, the town’s ageless mage, who tells her they were stolen by Eldbjørn, the ancient bear who guards the forest. Under Rune’s guidance, Mila and Pipa travel north to the magical island realm of Thule to save Oskar and confront an implacable creature. With this chilly fable, Hargrave (The Deathless Girls) invokes a feeling of folklore set in an ambiguous era and location. Sibling bonds and resilience run strong as the sisters trek through forbidding territory to face an enemy capable of controlling their very thoughts. It’s a tense journey that boasts a mythic essence and a well-earned end. Ages 10–15. (Oct.)