Friday, October 12, 2012


Frozen by Mary Casanova
University of Minnesota Press, 9/7/2012
Hardcover,  264 pages
ISBN-13: 9780816680566
Age range: 13 - 17 Years

Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose hasn't said a word in eleven years-ever since the day she was found lying in a snowbank during a howling storm. Like her voice, her memories of her mother and what happened that night were frozen.

Set during the roaring 1920s in the beautiful, wild area on Rainy Lake where Minnesota meets Canada, Frozen tells the remarkable story of Sadie Rose, whose mother died under strange circumstances the same night that Sadie Rose was found, unable to speak, in a snowbank. Sadie Rose doesn't know her last name and has only fleeting memories of her mother-and the conflicting knowledge that her mother had worked in a brothel. Taken in as a foster child by a corrupt senator, Sadie Rose spends every summer along the shores of Rainy Lake, where her silence is both a prison and a sanctuary.
One day, Sadie Rose stumbles on a half dozen faded, scandalous photographs-pictures, she realizes, of her mother. They release a flood of puzzling memories, and these wisps of the past send her at last into the heart of her own life's great mystery: who was her mother, and how did she die? Why did her mother work in a brothel-did she have a choice? What really happened that night when a five-year-old girl was found shivering in a snowbank, her voice and identity abruptly shattered?
My Thoughts:

Frozen by Mary Casanova is set in northern Minnesota during the 1920's. Sixteen year old Sadie Rose has been unable to speak since her mother's death over 11 years ago. At that time, she was taken in and has been raised by the Worthington's. Mr. Worthington is now a senator and Sadie Rose feels the pressure placed on her to behave and act like a well-mannered daughter, although they never have adopted her. When Sadie Rose finds pictures of her mother it unlocks memories she didn't realize she had and helps Sadie find her voice again.
Frozen is a historical fiction YA novel. Casanova does a nice job with the setting and the incorporation of historical and social details of that time. Interestingly, the author, Mary Casanova, wrote the McKenna stories for the American Girls series. Obviously, this helps explain part of the care she has taken with  establishing the historical time and place.

The plot itself wobbles a bit. Amid a myriad of social issues, Sadie Rose finds her voice with surprising quickness and ease before she  asserts her individuality and sets off in a surprisingly bold, self-assured manner. Beyond Sadie Rose, all the other characters in the novel are not fully realized figures and they end up being reduced to caricatures.  
It is written to target 13-17 year old girls, although I would say it hits the mark closer to the younger 13 or 14 year old reader. This age group may accept and appreciate Sadie Rose's sudden transformation to a talkative, adventurous young woman more easily than a more sophisticated teen. Older teens and adults are surely going to feel as I did - Sadie Rose's abrupt transformation and the rapid recovery of her ability to speak, after not speaking for 11 years, was too sudden and came too easily to be believable.
This is a quick read and basically enjoyable. Recommended
 Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley for review purposes.

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