Released September 1, 2012
University of Minnesota Press
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?
Sadie Rose’s search for her personal truth is laid against a swirling historical drama—a time of prohibition and women winning the right to vote, political corruption, and a fevered fight over the area’s wilderness between a charismatic, unyielding, powerful industrialist and a quiet man battling to save the wide, wild forests and waters of northernmost Minnesota. Frozen is a suspenseful, moving testimonial to the haves and the have-nots, to the power of family and memory, and to the extraordinary strength of a young woman who has lost her voice in nearly every way—but is utterly determined to find it again.
I’m a huge fan of unearthing family skeletons so this really appealed to me. The writing was well done but not OMGTHISISTHEBESTEVER and it had an American Girl feel for the last 1/3 of the book. I later found out that there’s a reason for this. The author has written American Girl books! This is definitely YA level literature but if the reader is much of a prude I wouldn’t suggest it to them. Sadie was an interesting character. She was damaged and then suddenly, she finds her voice. Huzzah! What a nice, Pollyanna-esque turn of events! And another thing. I know that 16 year old girls don’t always have a great track record, but I am Sick And Tired of every. single. teenage girl not being able to have any rational thoughts. Sadie just runs. She doesn’t really think. At all. She just says “Oh I think I’ll get on a boat. I have no idea where I’m going. I’ll get a job there even though I have no experience and no skills besides the piano! La dee da!” The ending bothered me the most though. Like I said, it felt like an American Girl book. You knew that people were going to say sorry (whether they meant it or not) and other people were going to forgive them (or at least continue to mooch off of them).
I know this makes it sound like I hated it, it was terrible, but really, I’d give it a 3.5 of 5. I feel like the end was wrapped up too quickly with everything in a nice little bow but with a lot of unanswered questions. It would have been nice to have more character building so we have a chance to care about all of the side characters. I’d recommend this but I suggest you get it from a library unless you know you’ll love it.
*I received this for free from NetGalley for review*