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Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All

Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All

4.3 17
by Jane Yolen

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An unforgettable take on a favorite fairy tale by multi-award-winning author Jane Yolen

Summer's life in the mountains of West Virginia feels like a fairy tale--her parents dote on her, and she's about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking their mother with him, Summer's life turns grim. Things get even worse when her


An unforgettable take on a favorite fairy tale by multi-award-winning author Jane Yolen

Summer's life in the mountains of West Virginia feels like a fairy tale--her parents dote on her, and she's about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking their mother with him, Summer's life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poisons and magical mirrors into Summer's world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face and Summer's father is under her spell, but Summer suspects she's up to no good--and is afraid she is powerless to stop her.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing from her eponymous short story of 2000, Yolen offers a gripping 20th-century adaptation of Snow White, starring Snow in Summer, a girl growing up in West Virginia in the 1940s. Summer’s beloved Papa, bereft over the death of his wife and son, is seduced by a beautiful but wicked witch, who marries him and takes over the household, using her wiles to render Papa and the rest of the town helpless while she abuses her stepdaughter. Only widowed Cousin Nancy resists the witch and offers aid to Summer via some down-home magic. “Your caul, child.... I retrieved it right after you were born. Salted it down, let it dry over the rim of a bowl. I’ve kept it for you all this time.” Based on the traditional Snow White—complete with a magic mirror and seven dwarfs (more or less), along with some Appalachian folklore, post-Depression era culture, and snake-handling evangelicals—this story is beautifully written and deliciously scary, with just enough differences from familiar versions to keep readers guessing. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Shawn Buckenmeyer
Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All is a beautifully woven retelling of Snow White set in the Appalachian mountain lands of West Virginia in the 1940's. Snow in Summer has always been a fan of fairytales but when her world is turned upside down she finds herself trapped in a frightening fairytale of her own. Summer's life was wonderful at one time, filled with laughter, singing, a loving mother and father, and a brand new baby brother. But when tragedy settles over the household with the death of both mother and baby, Summer and her father must find a way to cope. In slithers the stepmother casting a spell over the father; blinding him to her true motives. For Summer, she has brought a bag of nasty tricks and cruelties. The only flaw to this beautiful story is the ending; it is much too brief and sudden. Jane Yolen has created a magical and sinister world filled with magic, snake charmers, a wicked stepmother and the mysterious hunter. Be forewarned, elements of adult subject matter are present including child abuse, murder and dark magic. Reviewer: Shawn Buckenmeyer
Kirkus Reviews
Yolen spins an interesting variation of the classical Snow White story, setting it in a small town in West Virginia in the 1940s. Snow in Summer--named after the beautiful white flowers in the front yard and called Summer for short--is 7 years old when her mother dies. After her death, Summer's father, Lemuel, is swallowed up by grief. Summer and her Cousin Nancy, who lives next door, do their best to hold things together as they watch Lemuel fade. Summer herself tells most of what happens in the years that follow, but occasional chapters are narrated by Cousin Nancy and, eventually, by Summer's stepmother, who has enchanted Lemuel in hopes of getting control of his land. Stepmother saps the remaining vitality from Lemuel and makes Summer's life a sequence of torments. The pace starts to pick up when Summer has her first period. Stepmother, convinced by now that Summer will not join her in what she calls "the craft," arranges to have the girl killed. Summer has only the advice of a magic mirror and, eventually, seven small friends to aid her. Can she survive? Yolen folds in references to folk tales and songs as well as such classics as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Just So Stories, giving the narrative a metafictive lift. A quiet and compelling story more closely tied to the classical fairy tale than the now-popular Disney version. (author's note) (Fantasy. 9-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

"Fear the Hunter," the mirror's masked face said, startling me out of my memories.

“Fear the Hunter, fear the knife,
Fear the edge that takes a life.”

The mirror spoke as if Hunter was capitalized, like a name or a rank of some kind.

"The Hunter? Who's that?" I asked, but the mirror had gone silent. In the silence I heard a car door slam right outside.

Stepmama was home.

I slipped back out of her room so fast my shadow had trouble keeping up, and I headed down the hallway as if going to the bathroom.

That was where she found me.

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen is the author of over three hundred books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Her books and stories have won numerous awards and accolades including the Caldecott Award, National Book Award Finalist, Golden Kite Award, Christopher Medal, The World Fantasy Award, Sydney Taylor Book Award, Maud Hart Lovelace Award and numerous state award lists. She splits her time between Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.

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Snow in Summer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
BookFanatic132 More than 1 year ago
This modern retelling of Snow White was a great mix of old and new. We start out with the girl, Snow-in-Summer Morton (yes, that's her real name). She is at her mother's and baby brother's funeral. Cousin Nancy is acting like her real parent, because her Papa is too absorbed in his grief to pay any attention to his only daughter. Throughout the book we watch her grow, from her being seven years old to her being thirteen (until the last chapter in which she's nineteen). She learns that things aren't what they seem, especially her Stepmama. Cousin Nancy is basically her mother throughout this whole book. While her Papa is so focused on his grief, Cousin Nancy helps Summer grow and takes care of her and her Papa. I think Cousin Nancy is my favorite character in this whole book because she has suffered through a lot (including her own husband dying) but she still carries on and is brave for those around her. I honestly really didn't like Lemuel Morton (Summer's Papa). Yes, a person should feel grief that their love has died, but not to the extent of practically forgetting that your daughter exists! It was as if he was a ghost throughout the whole book, and it took Summer almost dying for him to come to his senses. The stepmother/witch was a nice change. Though yes, she was the evil witch, we got to see inside her head for a few chapters and got to see what motivated her, though we didn't understand it. What through me off for a bit was when the point of view switched. The chapter was titled "[Name of character] remembers" when it was in their point of view, but during the first few times it happened I was confused as to why the voice sounded different. Once I got it, it made perfect sense, but it took a while. Though we, as readers, know what happens (haven't we all read/watched Snow White?), the book was different enough that it had a fresh twist to it. It wasn't boring or redundant—it was new and sometimes I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. The book is directed towards a much younger audience, which might be why I didn't get immediately sucked in, but I really did enjoy the book and recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tales, danger, adventure, and love of many kinds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I reccomend this book if u like fairytales or fantasy its an easy book and is tons of fun to read after every page ur like whats gonna happen next so keep an eye out because this book is an adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jane Yolen is the best writer ever! I have read many of her books, but this one was the best yet! It was a total twist from the original Snow White. Well, sort of! The snake was the scariest part. It was totally different from the poisioned apple. Except for the poision part! ;) Jane Yolen, i may only be speaking for myself, but you are the best writer ever! When i finished Snow in Summer, i read your achievements, and might i say, that is a lot of awards! I would definitly consider you to be "the Hans Christian Anderson of America" as said in your books! I am a huge fan! Hannah Ainsworth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is kinda about snow white so read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This looks like a good book if anyone caan tell me info i would be so grateful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sample consists of all the copyright and dedicatory papges and one partial paragraph!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a greatbook.I am reading this book and is good.It is another verison of snow white.
PixieFeather23641 More than 1 year ago
i think there was way too much about her becoming a woman and way too little about her courtship with Willy. i like a good romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book at the library yesterday and im really not far but it is very different i would have thought it was going to be set in a different village and time but it wasnt we will see how it turns out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are going to read Snow In Summer iwould say the story would be rated pg.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is summer snow a good book????