BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario [in School Library Journal]

Juleah del Rosario’s sophomore novel-in-verse is a haunting elegy, revealed in the back-and-forth voices of two sisters. Rowena is the star soccer athlete, Ariana the artist who might not graduate. They’re students at the same high school, but the older hardly acknowledges the younger; at home, the distance lengthens and lingers.

Their mother died years ago, leaving the young girls alone until Dad married Maribel and the family had promise, especially with another sister on the way. Miscarriage robs the family again, cleaving the sisters further: Ariana disappears one snowy night, leaving Row in desperate search.

Narrator Cassie Simone is ever-so-slightly hopeful through Row’s sadness, her youthful rhythms reverberating throughout. Donabella Mortel as Ariana is the weaker link, too mature to be convincing as a student. She doesn’t speak German, although a simple “pronounce Erlebnis,” for example, in any search engine could have sufficed.

While del Rosario’s raw, unadorned verses might resonate more on the page, the audio adaptation could provide an affecting option for reluctant readers.

Review: “Audio,” School Library Journal, July 1, 2020

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2020

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