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Can the truth thaw Chrissa's frozen heart?
It's been three years since Chrissa's father walked out of her life. Too angry even to speak to her mother, Chrissa is obsessed with finding the answers to her questions: Why did her father leave? Why does she never hear from him? And is it somehow her fault, for not being the daughter he wanted her to be?
Now, unable to deal with Chrissa's silence, her mother has sent her away from New York City home ...

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Can the truth thaw Chrissa's frozen heart?
It's been three years since Chrissa's father walked out of her life. Too angry even to speak to her mother, Chrissa is obsessed with finding the answers to her questions: Why did her father leave? Why does she never hear from him? And is it somehow her fault, for not being the daughter he wanted her to be?
Now, unable to deal with Chrissa's silence, her mother has sent her away from New York City home to spend a year in the country with her grandmother. Perhaps in Gram's house, in the rural community which her father grew up, Chrissa will discover the secret of his disappearance.
Instead, Chrissa finds more secrets and suspicions. And, surprisingly, she finds strength she never knew she had. Strength she will need when she must confront the most devastating secret of all.

When thirteen-year-old Chrissa is sent to her paternal grandmother's farm, she learns more about her absent father and some of the reasons for her distant relationship with her mother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Newbery Medalist Naylor offers the story of a teenage girl with a frozen heart; mourning her father's disappearance, she goes to live with her grandmother in the country, only to discover her own strength and her father's secret. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
In this well-crafted novel, Naylor tells the absorbing story of Chrissa, a young girl trapped in near silence by the memories of a father who left her. Sent to live with her grandmother because things weren't "working out" with her mother, Chrissa hopes to discover the reason her father left. Constantly recalling times when she and her father were "together," Chrissa has difficulty finding anything satisfying in her current surroundings. As her attempts to find her father lead to dead ends, Chrissa starts to realize that perhaps having her father back and receiving his approval isn't as important as she originally thought. Instead, Chrissa gains self-confidence by building a strong friendship with a local family, giving loving support to the children she baby-sits, developing a connection with nature, and strengthening her relationships with her mother and grandmother.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Naylor's latest book is a multi-layered story about Chrissa, 13, whose heart feels encased in "ice" since her father's departure 3 years earlier. Her mother, unable to cope with her, sends her to live with her paternal grandmother for a year. It is here that she learns more about her father, finally discovering the truth. She becomes protective of her Gram when the old woman is about to be conned out of her land by an unscrupulous duo representing the Whole Body Church. Chrissa learns a tough lesson about honesty and self-reliance.
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
Chrissa's father disappeared three years ago, and it was a devastating event for Chrissa. One exacerbated by her mother's refusal to discuss what happened, or where her father was. As Chrissa remembered being with her father, she remembered his disapproval, which only made matters worse. The emotional turmoil renders Chrissa unable to communicate with her mother, who in frustration sends her from their home in New York City to Chrissa's paternal grandmother's home in rural New York. Stunned at first, Chrissa sees it as an opportunity to find out more about her dad. Her grandmother's down-to-earth style, and her new responsibilities and friends set the stage for a coming of age adventure. It was a little difficult to relate to Chrissa's obsession until the truth about her dad was revealed at the end, but then it all made a lot more sense. Adventuresome, strong willed, levelheaded Chrissa will be an inspiration.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-An alienated teen heals herself in this well-written story of emotional survival. Chrissa's life with her mother is a cold, lonely place of unanswered questions about her father, who has vanished. She is sent to live with her grandmother in the country for a year, where she hopes to unlock the secrets of his disappearance. As she explores her father's boyhood home and surroundings for clues, her city eyes open to the beauty and diversity of nature. She develops friendships at school and with Thad, the boy next door, along with a protective loyalty toward her grandmother, whose small savings and forest land attract the interest of an unscrupulous preacher. In the rhythms of daily life, Chrissa releases herself from the past's disappointments and begins to rely on strong inner resources. As the winter landscape frees itself from a spectacularly beautiful, yet crippling ice storm, Chrissa, too, thaws and is able to face the truth that her father is in jail and that she is free to be herself. Taut prose is interspersed with italicized memories. Characterizations of the girl, her grandmother, and the neighbors are adept. Setting plays an important role in the story. In her New York City home, Chrissa is a nonentity, a faceless, hopeless teen; in the country, her presence contributes to the natural order, and she positively affects the lives of others. Empowered by her own sense of fitness, she faces her demons, the parents who have failed her, and forgives.-Alice Casey Smith, Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689818721
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/1/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 477,158
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (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

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Read an Excerpt

from Chapter One

The earliest memory she had of her father was of going with him to the pier at Forty-second Street. They had driven over from Nineteenth in Chelsea-must have, because that's where she was born. He was taking her to see the Queen Elizabeth II.

Perhaps it was more his telling of it she remembered, but she recalled going up a steep ramp and walking in dose quarters down hallways. She and her father had peered into rooms where there were large bouquets and laughing people.

This much she was sure she remembered: "Someday I'm going to five by the water," he had told her. And at four or five, she had believed whatever he said.

"Chrissa," her mother told her at breakfast, "we're not going to go on like this-those looks you give me, your silences ... It's wearing us both down."

There was that tugging feeling in her throat again. Chrissa pressed her spoon flat into the grapefruit and watched it fill with juice. Say something! she told herself, but the words hung frozen, like icicles, inside her. Loneliness, hurt, and anger, one heaped on top the other, kept her silent. The girl with the layered look.

It was Mother who should have been doing the talking, anyway-who should have explained what had happened between her and Dad three years ago, and where Chrissa's father had gone. But all this seemed to be frozen inside Mom as well.

Now Mom's eyes were watching hers, blue like her own. "For the last year, you've been impossible," Mother continued. "Once you started junior high, you just clammed up. Do you know what it's like to come home from work each day to someone who won't even talk to you?"

Again the pause. The spoon filled with juice, and Chrissa swallowed mechanically. She really did wish she could think of something, but the words would be spiteful.

"I'm sending you to live with Gram for a year. We need a rest from each other."

No! Chrissa loosened her grip on the spoon and stared at her mother. She must be joking.

"I've checked the train schedule. You'll be leaving the day after classes are out next month, and will start school there in the fall." Mother was studying her intently. Her eyes were anxious. Loving, even.

"Y-you don't have to do this." Chrissa's words came out weak, raspy. It was all she could manage; no promises, no apologies.

"Do you have a better idea? I can only see things getting worse between us, and you won't talk to the counselor at school. Someone has to do something, and Gram said she'd try."

Mom didn't understand. The counselor was there only on Thursday mornings, and you had to sign up three weeks in advance. Besides, if Chrissa couldn't talk to her mother, how could she talk to someone she didn't even know?

And so when school was out Chrissa, still disbelieving, found herself standing wordlessly at the gate in Penn Station. Any minute Mom would say, "Oh, why don't you stay? We'll give it one more try." But she didn't.

What she said was "Honey-, try to look at this as an adventure, okay?" Her eyes were wet.

The attendant removed the rope at the escalator, and the crowd surged forward. With her vinyl bag bumping against one leg, another bag over her shoulder, Chrissa moved away from her mother's embrace.

"Chrissa's Great Adventure," she said to herself. "She sees the escalator, she approaches the escalator, and . . ." Chrissa put one foot on the moving stairs. "Takeoff!"

She didn't look back.

As the train rolled away from the station, Chrissa was astonished to discover she was fighting back tears. She turned them into angry tears, and that helped. She felt better when she was angry. When you were angry, you did things to other people. When you were sad, you let them do things to you. What kind of mother would send her own daughter away? It only made the feelings worse.

"Are you all right?" The woman on the seat beside her had noticed.


"Like a tissue?"

Chrissa took it wordlessly, cheeks burning. She hadn't thought to bring Kleenex; hadn't known she was going to cry.

"Is there anything I can do?"

Chrissa shook her head and turned toward the window. Leave me alone, she wanted to say. That was one of the troubles. There were only women in her life — no father, no grandfather, no uncles, no boyfriend ...

She sighed and thought of what lay ahead. She felt at home with sidewalks and steps, the bus stops and stores of New York City, but had never much liked the small house where her grandmother lived outside Rochester, surrounded by a yard that would be a whole city block back home.

She had enjoyed the yard when she was younger, but she did not like the nothingness — no music, no streetlights, no cars or crowds. Gram herself was far older, it seemed, than anyone else's grandmother, sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom but telling everyone she didn't smoke. Yeah, send me to Gram's. Great role model, Mom.

There were not, of course, many relatives to take her in. Gramps was dead, and on Mom's side of the family, her mother was in a nursing home in California, and her father had died in a drunken stupor. Maybe this was why Mom had remained friendly with her mother-in-law after Dad left-there weren't numerous caring relatives for her, either.

Chrissa decided one thing, however; somehow, someway, she would find out from Gram what had happened to Dad. About that she was determined. Maybe this would be a bigger adventure than Mom had bargained for. Chrissa Jennings, girl detective, on her way to meet her white-haired contact.

The really weird part was that she couldn't remember exactly what her father looked like, the enigmatic stranger who entered her life at intervals. The most recent picture she had of him was taken years ago at Coney Island, when Chrissa was six. His mustache was dark, to match his hair, and his eyes a deep brown. When she had last seen him, at ten, what did he look like then?

He could have changed a lot in three years. Would she recognize him if she saw him on the street? If he were on this train, even? She glanced around. Some businessmen across the aisle, and the portly conductor; that was all.

"Tickets, please. All tickets." Chrissa opened her bag.

Copyright© 1995 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    Good Book

    This is a very unique book. Like Many other of Reynold's book's, it is the tale of a young person. I found this book pretty good. It is very suspense filled, but not really the type of book i like. I dont really remember much about it because i read it 3 years ago. Overall i would give it a 7 in a scale of 1- 10. 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2003

    Best Book I've Read

    This book holds much suspense. And unlike other books, It's not boring in the beginning. Much related to Me. Except I've never lived with my grandparents.(u can email me if u like!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002


    This was such a good book and has many cliffhangers to keep you wondering what will happen next. I loved this book a lot and never stopped reading it! The beginning was kind of boring but it's still a very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2002


    i loved the book Ice, exspecially the suspense it holds. I read it in my spare time AND for a book report, and i sat at the end of my seat both times i read it. I'd definately recomend it to anyone who asks about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2002

    My Favorite Book

    This book is one of my favorites. Some of the things that happen to Chrissa happen to me every day. The author did a wonderful job getting her piont across. I like to read about girls such a myself that have everyday problems!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2001


    Ice is a good book that has a good plot, action, an interesting heroine, and a little romance added.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2000

    Great Book!

    If you love a good book, read this one. It's about a girl who struggles with her identity because of her dad who left her at a very young age. I am an avid reader and this is one of my all time favorite books. Any ages between 9-14 will enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2000



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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2000

    Outstanding! Wonderfully written!

    Ice is a wonderful name for this book, because in the beginning Chrissa couldn't put any of her feelings into words. They hung like icicles in her throat. Chrissa and her mother didn't communicate after her father left them, so her mother sends Chrissa to live with her grandmother. There Chrissa meets a life she's never known before. She finally starts to know the meaning of fun out. Throughout the book Chrissa is trying to find her father and if he is still alive or dead. This is an excellent book that's very true to life and is an easy read. Even though the first part of the book is where Chrissa is a little depressed. It's so fun to see how every little thing helps her to open her eyes. This book is an outstanding read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews

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