Touching Sister Story || ARC Review: Turtle Under Ice

I’ve been trying to read more novels in verse lately, so when I found this one on Netgalley, I knew I needed to request it. This story was incredibly beautiful, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to read it.

Title: Turtle Under Ice
Author: Juleah Del Rosario
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: February 11, 2020
Genres: YA Contemporary

I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.

But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.

Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.

Quick Thoughts

  • The poetry style the author uses is spare and punchy. There’s a lot of dialogue between characters, but when it turns to certain images, they are stark and touching.
  • This story is not told in chronological order. A lot of it is told in present tense intermixed with flashbacks of the past. Though this was startling at first, I adapted to it pretty quickly.
  • That ending was just perfect. I definitely shed a couple of tears.

Lasting Impressions

This is a story of grief and pain, told through the eyes of Row and Ariana. To me, their voices were incredibly distinct, and the way they dealt with their grief and held onto their past was distinct as well. The author delves into the way some people hold onto grief and tragedy—some cannot let go, some avoid the pain, and some make it past and keep on living. I found this exploration of grief beautiful, yet hopeful.

Through it all, this is a story about sisters, about how they hold onto each other, the expectations they have for one another. As an older sister myself, I particularly related to Ariana, who is afraid of letting her sister down and not being a role model, despite still dealing with the grief of losing her mother. The way both sisters grow by the end of the novel really pulled on my heartstrings.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed the journey of this book. It’s so hopeful and realistic when it comes to dealing and understanding grief. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in delving into that topic.

Do you like reading novels in verse? If so, which ones?

2 thoughts on “Touching Sister Story || ARC Review: Turtle Under Ice

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