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Blizzard's Wake

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Overview

Ever since fifteen-year-old Kate Sterling's mother died four years ago, nothing has been the same. Filled with resentment and sadness, and trying to fill the void left by her mother, Kate has shut herself off from the world and her family.

Zeke Dexter is heading home to begin a new life after completing his prison term, but he is filled with anxiety. Will anyone in his small town be able to forget his shameful past -- or the crime he committed ...

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Thorndike Press, 08/01/2004, Paperback, Like New condition. Large Print edition.

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Overview

Ever since fifteen-year-old Kate Sterling's mother died four years ago, nothing has been the same. Filled with resentment and sadness, and trying to fill the void left by her mother, Kate has shut herself off from the world and her family.

Zeke Dexter is heading home to begin a new life after completing his prison term, but he is filled with anxiety. Will anyone in his small town be able to forget his shameful past -- or the crime he committed -- and let him start anew? And if he's not welcomed at home, where else could he go?

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor weaves a taut, gripping story about grief, determination, and healing as the lives of the Sterling family and Zeke Dexter bind together. Set against the actual events of the March 1941 blizzard, Naylor's touching new period novel will be welcomed by her many fans.

In March of 1941, when a severe blizzard suddenly hits Bismarck, North Dakota, a girl trying to save her stranded father and brother inadvertently helps the man who killed her mother four years before.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this taut novel set in 1941 North Dakota, Naylor (Shiloh; the Alice books) brings together a number of freak occurrences-and joins them so skillfully that her story pulses with drama. Separate narrative strands introduce Kate Sterling, a teenager still mourning the death of her mother, Ann, four years earlier, and Zeke Dexter, the drunk driver who killed Ann Sterling and who has just been released from prison a year early, for good behavior. Naylor creates a highly charged atmosphere right from the beginning, as Kate feigns an interest in high school life while secretly consumed with hatred for Zeke. When an unusually severe blizzard strikes (the storm is historical), Kate, alone at home and realizing that her father, a country doctor, and younger brother are stranded just yards away in an unheated car, resourcefully plans a rescue. Meanwhile, Zeke, lost in the blinding snowfall, has stumbled, frost-bitten, into the Sterlings' car and is being tended by Doc Sterling. Kate, who has long fantasized about making Zeke suffer, is shocked. Naylor doesn't shy away from Kate's darkest feelings (assisting her father in a makeshift operation, for example, Kate administers Zeke's ether and must resist her urge to give him too much-or too little). As unlikely as the plot sounds, the believability of the characters and the complexity of their emotions give the novel psychological truth and strong resonance to its protagonists' slow movement toward forgiveness. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2002: Fifteen-year-old Kate Sterling lives outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in March 1941. Across the ocean the world is warring, in the unseasonably warm air a blizzard is lurking, and in Kate's heart the hatred she feels toward the drunk driver who took her mother's life is boiling. Meanwhile, the driver, Zeke Dexter, has just completed his prison term and is coming back home to the only family he has left. In alternating chapters, Naylor brings these two characters closer and closer until, in an ironic twist of fate, they are trapped with Kate's father and brother by the Red River Valley Blizzard of '41, which almost kills them all. Naylor's description allows the reader to experience the blizzard's suffocating white power. While they wait for the plows to reach their rural home, Kate struggles to control her violent feelings toward Zeke in the face of his remorse and her father's compassion for him. Even her younger brother moves beyond his own pain to befriend the man who has killed his mother. When injury confines Zeke to her home even longer, Kate comes to realize she is destroying herself through her hatred, and that only forgiveness will begin her healing process. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 231p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Another winner from Naylor. After four years, Kate Sterling, 15, is still mourning her mother's accidental death caused by Zeke Dexter's drunk driving. She is so inconsolable that she becomes increasingly withdrawn and isolates herself from her peers. Chapters alternate between Kate's and Zeke's voices. As he returns to town after serving his prison sentence, a deadly snowstorm is approaching; simultaneously, Kate's father and brother are returning from visiting one of her dad's patients. They become stranded in the car, and she is able to rescue them before they freeze to death. Unknown to her, she is also saving Zeke, the person she hates most. The succeeding events detail her courage in dealing with her grief and with the presence of the man who killed her mother as he is given refuge in her home. The story takes place in a small, North Dakota town during the famous blizzard of March, 1941. Naylor uses dramatic but accurate details to describe the fury of the storm as well as the prewar period, thus enriching the sense of time and place. An exciting survival story interwoven with one individual's personal struggle to overcome hatred and learn to forgive.-Susan Cooley, formerly at Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE
Kirkus Reviews
Kate Sterling is alone in her house as the great blizzard of 1941 rages around her. Her father, Doc, and her brother Jesse are stranded in their car-snowbound. Zeke Dexter, the convict who killed Kate's mother, has just gotten out of prison, and is out there somewhere walking in the storm. Kate has dreamed of Zeke's return and of the revenge she will exact. Wandering blindly and nearly dead, Zeke happens to bump into Doc Sterling's car, now almost drifted over. And Kate, determined to act, ties a clothesline around her waist, tethers herself to a fence, goes out exploring, and happens to find the car. The convergence of Kate, Zeke, and the worst blizzard in anyone's memory makes for a good, well-plotted story, in spite of the coincidences that make it all work. Kate's heroic efforts to save her father and brother result in the unexpected: her mother's killer stranded in her own house. And when Zeke is injured chopping wood out back, Kate ends up helping nurse him back to health. Kate must come to terms with Zeke as a person and with her hatred as a debilitating emotion. With WWII in the background, the blizzard's ravages, and the storms in the lives of the characters, this becomes a story about forgiveness and facing up to the forces in one's life. Kate realizes she can stay true to her mother's memory, be civil to Zeke, and not be consumed by hatred. A nice addition to this Newbery winner's body of work. (historical note) (Fiction. 12-14)
From the Publisher
School Library Journal Another winner from Naylor...an exciting survival story.

Voice of Youth Advocates 5Q 4P review With the reverberating theme of death and forgiveness, Naylor's powerful novel is quite memorable.

Publishers Weekly, starred review Pulses with drama.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786269877
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 8/23/2004
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 260
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and the Alice series. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(1)

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Well, this book was pretty bad. My friend and I read this for sc

    Well, this book was pretty bad. My friend and I read this for school, and it was one of the worst books we ever read. We tried reading this together, and we were barely able to stay awake. I think that them falling in love is a horrible part, even though we havent made it that far because this book is just that horrible. I think if Edward Cullen barfed on a bunch of peices of paper it would've been a better story than this. The whole blizzard scene was almost pointless, and the author tended to ramble on about pointless stuff alot. I dont really care how much medicine he needed per second. She could've kept it simple and said once: "Okay, Kate, just do like five drops per second, okay?". I also felt that the characters personality were as dry and liveless as Lily and James Potter after they were killed. Seriously. Not joking. In my opinion, a chewed piece of gum on the bottom of a school desk is more interesting than the thirty chapters i have read.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Long Time Coming

    Powerful story line. Detail descriptions of the surroundings make the story come alive. The protagonist has an emotional "twist & turn" situation happening and must come 2 grips with anger and frustration. Forgiveness is the central theme - 2 B free U need 2 forgive, free yourself, unload anger, and move forward 2 allow 4 peace 2 come.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    A book worth reading for

    In the small lonely towns of Dakota, Zeke Dexter and Kate Sterling struggle in a difficult conflict that taunts them througout the story. As the book progresses, Kate and Zeke must both learn how to turn thier troubles into something of the past, as Kate along with her father and brother must learn to forvive and forget about the terrible murder of Kate's mother that Zeke commited. Protaining to the nonfictional events of 1941, and the suspensfull plots that grabs you to this book, Blizzard's Wake is a wonderful book that is worth reading for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2007

    Blizzard's Are Cold

    In the book Blizzard's Wake written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor there is good insite into what people had to go through during the blizzard of 1941 in Grandfolks, North Dakota. It is written in well thought out detail that really brings you into the event itself. It makes you almost able to feel the cold that the characters are feeling. I like the fact that she doesn't use real people but uses real facts that happened during this historical event. You look through the eyes of different people all in a different circumstances. Kate Sterling was stuck at home during the storm. Doc Sterling and his son Jesse were stuck in a car fifty yards away from their home. Zeke Dexter, recently released from prison for the murder of Mrs. Sterling, was walking home when the storm hit. He ended up in the car with the husband and son of his murder victim. The author tells real facts that happened during the blizzard as well as developing the story lines of the characters. The author brings in facts about the changing of wind direction from west to east and the rapidly dropping temperatures from 28 to 13 degrees. These meterogical events dramatically effected the severity of the storm on the area. The story followed the characters experiences while being stranded during the Red River Valley Blizzard of 1941, also called the Black Blizzard. The book was packed full of information and was a very enjoyable read. It captures your interest right away because it gets you involved with the characters. I strongly recommend this book ages 10 and up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2005

    How could 98 kids be wrong????

    I read this novel with my sixth graders who hated when the period ended each day. I was accused of stopping at a cliffhanger everyday. They learned alot about forgiveness, responsibility, and a little history. ALL 98 gave it a thumbs up!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    Boring and disappointing

    i thought that the book was rather predictable and boring..how long did it really need for kate 2 get over her mom's death? it lingered too long over that plot and didn't really move on to any thing else. from the back of the book, i was excited to read it, but was then disappointed in it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2005

    blizzard's wake

    blizzard's wake is about zeke and kate. zeke killed kate'smother ann when drunk driving. kate will never forgive even though he is living with her, her dad,and brother. what will she do?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    You have got to read this book!

    This book is about a teenagers struggle to forgive. Several years ago Kates mother was killed by a drunk driver named, Zeke Dexter. When Zeke gets out of prison early and comes back to town Kate has horrible thoughts about him. Trying to follow Kates journy of forgiveness for both Zeke and herself kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recomend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2003

    Great Book

    I loved this book. It was very good. I wondered if Kate would every forgive Zeke for what he did, and I didn't find out in till the end. I was a very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Dissapointing

    I was actually rather disappointed with this book. I have read from Naylor's stock pile before and this book really didn't live up to my expectations. I thought it was rather predictable...the girl has some feelings of her own to get rid of before she can forgive this man, which is understandable, it's just..I don't know, I didn't like it. It was hard for the book to keep my intrest. Extremely dissapointing when you've read a few of her books before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    Really Grate Book

    I LOVED this book. It's really a good story and it kept you guessing untill the end. I also loved it because I'm from North Dakota and I knew about all the placed they talked about. If you're from ND you will ove this book even more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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