Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

Title: Snow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow White
Author: Jane Yolen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tale Retellings
Elements: Magic
Publisher: Philomel Books, Penguin Group
Format: Hardcover, 243 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-25663-9
Release Date: November 10, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 3.5/5

Tagline(s): Fairest of Them All

Summary: With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father's garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother.

But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking Summer's mama with him, Summer's fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poison and a magical mirror into Summer's world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Summer suspects she's up to no good. Is Summer powerless to stop her?

Master storyteller Jane Yolen crafts a brand-new Snow White tale filled with magic and intrigue, set during the early twentieth century in Appalachia, that will be hard to forget.


Snow in Summer takes place in West Virginia's Appalachian Mountains during the 1940's. Jane Yolen re-tells the fairy tale of Snow White in a more modern time that we're familiar with.

Summer's life was like a fairy tale until the day her mother and baby brother died and her father retreated into himself from heartache. Then Summer's father starts visiting her mother's grave every night after dinner and she hopes it's a sign that her father is coming back to her. What she didn't expect was for her father to walk down the mountain one day from visiting her mother with a woman on his arm. Summer and Cousin Nancy quickly realize that Summer's father is besotted and under the woman's spell. With no defense against the woman's magic, Summer is easily beguiled by her. Unable to please the woman who becomes her stepmother, Summer is hunted by the man her stepmother hired to kill her. She is able to escape and finds safety in the mountains with six German jewel mining brothers. But she can't escape her stepmother that easily.

Snow in Summer is an innocent girl who has a big name to live up to. She loves fairy tales and believes in True Love. And she knows evil when she sees it. She's called Summer by her family and friends, but Snow by her stepmother. With her mother gone and her father lost in heartache, Summer quickly grows really close to Cousin Nancy. But when she's beguiled by the woman who would become her stepmother, she desperately wants a mother's love and tries her hardest to get her stepmother to love her. But when she realizes that her stepmother can't love her and she sees how evil her stepmother really is, she tries to escape. When she is being hunted by the man that her stepmother hired to kill her, she finds a safe haven with six German miners in the mountains. She finds happiness there, but she knows she must always be careful in case her stepmother finds her.

I like how Jane Yolen stays with the main elements of the Snow White tale, but adds a few unique touches all her own. I also like the heroines name. It shows the two sides of the story. Snow (which she's called by her stepmother) shows the cold and oppressive side of the story. When the heroine is trapped by her stepmother. And Summer is the warm and hopeful side of the story. Where True Love is found and good always wins.

Quote: After all, it was True Love from the very first moment we met. the best kind, born out of adversity and hard work and destined to last happily ever after. Of that we are both absolutely certain. - Page 243

About this Author:

Yolen was born at Beth Israel Hospital, the first child of Isabel Berlin and Will Hyatt Yolen. She and her family moved to California when she was young but returned to New York a few years later. After her younger brother was born, her father joined the army and served on the European front during WWII. Yolen spent her childhood taking piano lessons, ballet dancing and writing a neighborhood newspaper with her brother. Yolen spent her teen years in Westport, Connecticut, and became involved in choir, basketball, debate, language clubs and the school paper. She graduated from Smith College with several publications in literary magazines already to her name.

In 1962, Yolen married David Stemple. They had three children together and six grandchildren. Stemple passed away in 2006 from cancer. Yolen now divides her time between her homes in Western Massachusetts and Scotland.

Yolen has written over 280 books, including picture books, books of poetry, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and more. Her books are part of the core curriculum for schools across the country and have been translated into several languages.

1 comment:

  1. I like how the MC's names symbolize the different parts of the story. I have this on my TBR. Thanks for the review!


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