Yates, Alexander The Winter Place, 438 pages. Atheneum, 2016. $12. Language: PG-13 (43 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some fighting).
Tess and Axel’s mom died years ago, but when their father is killed in a freak accident, the pair is devastated. Matters only get worse when the siblings learn that their maternal grandparents, whom they didn’t know existed, live in Finland and they are going to have to join them there. Axel, especially, is devastated and feels that it is his mission to connect with his parents in the spirit world. When he disappears, Tess is mystified and desperate.
I don’t know much (anything) about Finnish folklore, so I have no idea if the spirit world portrayed is accurate or a completely new fabrication. Either way, it is very distressing and unappealing as a mythology. While I tried to care about Tess and Alex, it just didn’t click for me. If you have students who love books about death and mourning, this might be an option for you.
HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher