Frozen Summer

Frozen Summer

5.0 4
by M. J. Auch
     
 

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In 1815 Remembrance "Mem" Nye and her family pack up their covered wagon and head for the Genesee Country in western New York for a better life. But their first summer in their new home proves more difficult than they ever imagined. Papa's crops are ruined by the severe frosts, so food is scarce. And since the birth of baby Lily, Mama has been having terrible

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Overview

In 1815 Remembrance "Mem" Nye and her family pack up their covered wagon and head for the Genesee Country in western New York for a better life. But their first summer in their new home proves more difficult than they ever imagined. Papa's crops are ruined by the severe frosts, so food is scarce. And since the birth of baby Lily, Mama has been having terrible spells. Now Papa must rely on young Mem to take care of her sister and brother, and especially her sick mother. Mem's struggles go from bad to worse when Mama and Lily disappear in the woods on a cold and stormy night. It's up to Mem to find Mama and Lily and bring them safely home.

In a powerful companion novel to the highly acclaimed Journey to Nowhere, twelve-year-old Mem comes face-to-face with the hardships that befell many early settlers. Mary Jane Auch writes about mental illness during pioneer times with compassion and hope in this gripping historical novel.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
As her father battles the freezing weather and the destruction of their corn crop in June 1816, Mem's mother gives birth to a baby girl. As the days go by, Mem notices that her mother is becoming more introverted. She disobeys her father by sending a note to her grandmother in Connecticut to come visit them in western New York. While waiting for a reply, twelve-year-old Mem must cope with the chores, take care of her younger brother, the baby, and her sick mother. Mem leaves her mother alone with the baby to go into town to do an errand. While she is gone, her mother receives a letter from Connecticut. When Mem returns, her mother and the baby are missing. A search party goes out in the cold rain, but must stop when it gets dark. Mem sets out the next day determined to find them. The reader of this finely researched historical novel feels the physical and emotional challenges of pioneer life. This is the second in a trilogy. While it can be read independently, the reader will enjoy reading them in order.
VOYA - Evelyn Butrico
This is a great book, one I cannot imagine could be better written. As thoroughly explained in an author's note, Auch did extended research on this time period, the year of 1816--or as many called it, the year without a summer. She then wrote Frozen Summer's predecessor, Journey to Nowhere (Henry Holt, 1997), to introduce readers to the Nye family and to set the scene of this book, in western New York's Genesee Country. The reader cannot help but relate to and sympathize with the character of Remembrance "Mem" Nye. After the adventure of moving from Connecticut to western New York, the Nye family experiences one of their worst summers. The several plantings of crops are killed by severe, very late frosts, making Mem's father preoccupied. After the birth of her third child, a girl, Mem's mother slips into severe depression. Mem's mother begins having more and more frequent "spells," retreating from reality into her mind, forcing Mem to take responsibility for the new babe as well as her five-year-old brother and all the chores. Mem's father, preoccupied and ashamed of his wife's condition, dumps too much on twelve-year-old Mem. Only after the terrible tragedy of losing his wife and almost losing his new daughter does he wake up and take the help offered by his neighbors, now too late, and decide that the move west was possibly not the best idea. Auch's characters are all compelling--the reader will become angry with Mem's father, frustrated with her mother, and love her brother. This continuation can be read independently, but the reader would benefit from reading Journey to Nowhere. An excellent piece of historic fiction, highly recommended for both public and school libraries. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9).
KLIATT
Mem is far too young, she thinks, to handle all the responsibility she must shoulder. Her mother has just given birth to a baby girl, her little brother is restless, and her father is totally distracted by failing crops. The summer that was supposed to be so warm has turned unexpectedly cold. Mem's mother is acting very strange, talking to herself and staring off into the distance. Mem is trying hard to take care of things—learning to cook, to keep her baby sister clean and now, she's even watching after her mother. Life in western New York State in 1816 is harsh, lonely and overwhelming. This is the second book about Remembrance Nye and her family, following Journey To Nowhere, but it stands very well on its own and it is not necessary to have read the first book to understand and appreciate the characters and story. It is exciting and action-packed from start to finish. Auch creates a vivid picture of life in 1816. Her research shows in the close attention to detail. In the author's notes she explains her research methods and talks about how her interest grew when she read about the cold summer of 1816. Frozen Summer presents a realistic and unforgettable portrayal of how women lived and coped with life in the wilderness. Mem is a remarkable heroine whom girls will find resourceful and inspiring. Auch also examines some of the superstition and prejudice surrounding mental illness back then. Aurelia, Mem's mother, suffers from postpartum depression, but the "shame" of her illness is kept from neighbors who might have been able to help. The tragedy that this causes is painfully brought to light when Aurelia disappears with the new baby and too late, neighbors are brought in to help.The common bond of these pioneering women made them strong and resilient, but still vulnerable to the prejudice of their times. Because the story is written in Mem's voice, it is more likely to appeal to girls. But, because of the excellent historical perspective, it is a book that could benefit boys also. Recommended for both public and school libraries with junior or YA sections. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Random House/Dell Yearling, 202p, 20cm, $4.50. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Sally M. Tibbetts; Audio Visual/LRC, Main West H.S., Des Plaines, IL, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Kirkus Reviews
The second installment of a frontier trilogy that began with Auch's Journey to Nowhere (1997) is the vivid story of courageous Mem Nye, who faces responsibilities that would tax a strong adult. In the Genesee Country of western New York, where the Nyes moved from Connecticut to make a decent living farming, the planting and growing season of 1816 has been plagued by unexpected frosts. One after another of Papa's corn plantings turns black; he's out of seed and nearly out of resources. Far worse than the crops is Mama's mental state; after giving birth to a child she doesn't even name, she slips into homesickness and depression, and abandons all maternal and domestic responsibilities. Mem names the baby Lily, shoulders Mama's chores and her own, and attempts to keep up with her studies and her dream of becoming a schoolteacher. Papa, hoping to keep the family's troubles private, becomes increasingly taciturn, and is angry when Mem writes her grandmother for help. Tragedy all but inevitably strikes when Mama and Lily disappear into the bitterly cold countryside, where Mama dies. Mem comes through it all and proves an even stronger character than she seemed in the previous book, facing her work with plenty of worry, but very matter of fact about the necessity of toiling on. Readers will have to wait for the third book to see if the surprising outcome-Papa plans to return to Connecticut-holds, making this a refreshing, highly realistic entry in pioneer fiction. (Fiction. 9-14) .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805049237
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
11/15/1998
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.92(h) x 0.85(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 14 Years

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