Cover image for Frozen summer
Title:
Frozen summer
Author:
Auch, Mary Jane.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
202 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
In 1816, twelve-year-old Mem's new home in the wilderness of western New York is disrupted when the birth of another baby sends her mother into "spells" that disconnect her from reality.
General Note:
Sequel to: Journey to nowhere.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
810 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.8 7.0 36696.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.8 10 Quiz: 18938 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780805049237
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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 Nowher"e, 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.


Author Notes

As a child, Mary Jane Auch loved books and read constantly. Her interest in drawing began as a child and continued through high school. She went on to become an art major at Skidmore College. After graduation, Auch went for New York City, but after a year of designing prints for men's pajamas, she decided she wanted to do something more meaningful with her life. She enrolled in the Occupational Therapy program at Columbia University, and worked for some years in a children's hospital near Hartford, Connecticut.

Eventually, Auch began illustrating for Pennywhistle Press, a national children's newspaper, which led to an interest in illustrating children's books. In the summer of 1984, Auch took a week-long children's writing conference on Cape Cod. Auch finally knew that she wanted to a writer when an instructor told her that sometimes artists find they can paint better pictures with words.

She began sending manuscripts to publishers, writing four novels before she sold the first one. She then sold a second book to another publisher the same week. She continued writing books for older kids, abandoning her dream of illustrating for a while. After writing nine books, she wrote and illustrated The Easter Egg Farm, and has done both ever since.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. In this sequel to Journey to Nowhere (1997), 12-year-old Remembrance "Mem" Nye and her family have survived their first winter in Genesee County, New York, and are hoping that the summer of 1816 will bring them easier times. Unfortunately, Mama develops severe post-partum depression, leaving her unable to care for the new baby, Lily, and a series of killing summer frosts keeps Papa busy replanting crops in a vain effort to provide for his family. Most of the household tasks fall to Mem (who even learns to catch fish, a skill her father never mastered), but no one is able to prevent Mama's steady descent into madness. Perhaps the most interesting character is Papa--a fiercely independent, dogmatic man with absolutely no talents as a frontiersman, who insists on making all the decisions for his family. In the hands of a lesser writer, we might simply hate him; instead, we empathize with his misguided (yet well-meant) efforts and sigh with relief when he finally agrees to move back East with his children. A thoughtful novel for readers ready to move beyond stories of idealized pioneers. --Kay Weisman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Even better than its predecessor, Journey to Nowhere, this sequel gets its title and some of its exceptional historical color from the dire weather conditions that afflicted New England and New York in the summer of 1816. As 12-year-old Mem, the narrator, recounts, June 6, 1816, is a date "nobody in the Genesee Country of New York will ever forget." The day brings the first of a number of freak snowstorms and late-season frosts that kill the crops and threaten survival. For Mem, whose family moved from Connecticut the year before, the day is even more momentous: during the sudden blizzard her Mama gives birth to a baby girl then slides into a terrible depression. Homesick for her family and demoralized by the rigors of pioneering, Mama slips into one of her "spells," and these become more frequent and more severe as the cataclysmic summer unfolds. Though she longs to be attending school, Mem takes over the chores in their one-room cabin and lovingly cares for both baby Lily and their five-year-old brother, while their father stubbornly conceals his wife's condition from neighbors and others who would offer help. Though the story is often heartbreaking, it concludes on a hopeful note, after a final tragedy unclouds Papa's vision and helps him recognize his family's needs. Auch's attention to the unromantic details of pioneer life, combined with evocative description and unusually involving dialogue, gives her work uncommon dimension. Ages 9-14. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-In this sequel to Journey to Nowhere (Holt, 1997), the Nye family has settled in Genesee Country in western New York in 1816. An unusually cold summer has devastating effects on local farmers. Twelve-year-old Mem's mother gives birth and becomes depressed, leaving the girl struggling to hold the family together and hindering her dreams of getting an education. As Mama's spells grow worse, Mem feels isolated and helpless. Things get even worse when Mama walks off with the baby during a storm. The plot here is almost exactly like that of Ellen Howard's Sister (Atheneum, 1990; o.p.). However, the tone of that book is more formal and a tender strength emerges in the characters. Although Mem is a determined girl, she is often irritating and readers don't see the inventiveness and adaptability that made her so appealing in the first book. Also, a character from Journey makes an almost deus-ex-machina appearance and there are other surprising plot contrivances that don't ring true. However, Auch does show Mem's unique way of looking at the world. The difference between her take on things and reality adds interest. Frozen Summer will have its greatest appeal for readers who loved the first book.-Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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