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Turtle Under Ice

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A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo. 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 h A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo. 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.


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A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo. 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 h A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo. 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.

30 review for Turtle Under Ice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    3.5/5 Stars "We have the capacity to be cruel, if we let the pain consume us." This book tackles themes such as grief, identity and also the overcoming of grief after a tragedy. It also talks about siblings relationships and how sometimes it's difficult to understand the people who are the closest to you. I quite enjoyed this read, but I think that there were some unresolved issues that I would have liked to see more of.

  2. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    I didn't expect this book to sucker punch me in the gut with its poignant portrayal of grief and sisterhood, but alas, here I am, gut-punched. - Follows Row and Ariana, two Filipino-Chamarro-American sisters who are still reeling from the loss of their mother six years ago. When Ariana disappears, the story explores both sister's perspectives and the ways they grapple with grief. - This book is written in verse, and I loved it. Some of the passages contained so much... raw emotion that I had to pa I didn't expect this book to sucker punch me in the gut with its poignant portrayal of grief and sisterhood, but alas, here I am, gut-punched. - Follows Row and Ariana, two Filipino-Chamarro-American sisters who are still reeling from the loss of their mother six years ago. When Ariana disappears, the story explores both sister's perspectives and the ways they grapple with grief. - This book is written in verse, and I loved it. Some of the passages contained so much... raw emotion that I had to pause my audiobook for a second to just breathe. - I think it's also a book where you have to really engage with the themes. The book explores grief, how people deal and grapple with grief differently, and the people-shaped holes in our hearts. - I also loved how this story explores sisterhood - how both sisters are looking for something in the wake of an absence they feel keenly - and the irrevocable effect sister relationships can have on our lives. - I loved the ending. I actually shed a tear at the end? I was moved, and didn't expect to be. I loved it. Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)[death of a loved one, miscarriage, grief, abandonment, trauma (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I liked the dual perspectives of each grieving sister. I think, however, that the resolution at the end of this novella-length story was a little too quick.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // stan shea couleé

    Told over the course of a single day, Turtles Under Ice is a lyrical novel about two sisters coping with grief, new and old. While I enjoyed parts of it, most of the book dragged and I found myself wishing that up to the art show was less than 20 parts, and what they did after was told after it. Because I was seriously bloody bored. I found it difficult to understand Ariana's obsession with her mother's death, even 6+ years later. I'm no stranger to grief, I lost my own mother at 16. I found it d Told over the course of a single day, Turtles Under Ice is a lyrical novel about two sisters coping with grief, new and old. While I enjoyed parts of it, most of the book dragged and I found myself wishing that up to the art show was less than 20 parts, and what they did after was told after it. Because I was seriously bloody bored. I found it difficult to understand Ariana's obsession with her mother's death, even 6+ years later. I'm no stranger to grief, I lost my own mother at 16. I found it difficult to understand why she seemed to want her entire identity to be "The Girl With The Dead Mother" and I was utterly confused that it seemed to only take her one short bus ride to the city to get over this all of a sudden. Row, Ariana's sister, seemed to only have chapters as a means to tell more of Ariana's lack of story. Ariana was a daunting presence throughout the story and it seemed pretty clear that she was the focus, but I didn't understand why. There was a lot of repetition about their mother's death, linking it bizarre pseudo-poetic sentences that felt forced. Like this: "I didn't want to tell her that boats reminded me of islands and islands reminded me of Mom and Mom reminded me of, well, a lot of thing that I didn't want to think about." What. Like I have no idea what the point of that sentence was. Ariana's college friend speaks pretty weirdly too, "...out of hope that the invisible threads that held us together would still be there." Overall, nah.

  5. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I finished Turtle Under Ice in a few hours. I couldn't stop reading. Sure it's in verse which certainly makes it easy. However, Turtle Under Ice is lyrical, poignant, and moving. This dual POV verse novel is stunning. It's a lyrical portrayal of grief, sisterhood, and moving on. Turtle Under Ice is obviously lyrical, but it's also haunting. Like the chilling breeze in a winter forest (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I finished Turtle Under Ice in a few hours. I couldn't stop reading. Sure it's in verse which certainly makes it easy. However, Turtle Under Ice is lyrical, poignant, and moving. This dual POV verse novel is stunning. It's a lyrical portrayal of grief, sisterhood, and moving on. Turtle Under Ice is obviously lyrical, but it's also haunting. Like the chilling breeze in a winter forest blanketed in snow. There's beauty to its words, surrounded by a setting that is both gorgeous with a hint of something deeper. A stillness of the forest. I adored 500 Words Or Less and del Rosario maintains that same commitment to characters in Turtle Under Ice. And Turtle Under Ice is moving. Telling us a story about grief, Rowena and Ariana demonstrate the ways grief can push us away, further from ourselves. It changes the molecules of our body. We each process the piercing cold differently. How can we still be the same sisters we were before when we don't even know who we are anymore? I could deeply empathize with the ways the sisters drift away from each other in Turtle Under the Ice. It isn't a conscious departure. It's that steady drifting away of ice pulled away by different currents. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoë ☆

    This was such a beautiful story about grief and family. I loved the writing ✨

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Once again, in the middle of a pandemic, I'm reading a book about death. This one also focuses on the bonds of sisterhood and the need for connection. Oh, and it's a novel-in-verse. This is the second book I've read by Juleah del Rosario; she does an excellent job in capturing the older teen world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight . I confess that every time I see this cover, I can only see that this girl is stabbing herself in the eye with ice. And then my mind goes to her stabbing herself with a turtle, and honestly none of this tells you anything about the book whatsoever, but I needed to get this off my chest and/or find someone to commiserate. What I Liked: Obviously family is a huge focus of this book.  You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight . I confess that every time I see this cover, I can only see that this girl is stabbing herself in the eye with ice. And then my mind goes to her stabbing herself with a turtle, and honestly none of this tells you anything about the book whatsoever, but I needed to get this off my chest and/or find someone to commiserate. What I Liked: Obviously family is a huge focus of this book. It isn't either of the girls' only focus, mind, which it shouldn't be. But I think that especially considering the past circumstances of both young women, it was clear that family was their central focus. And the family was just so authentic. They loved each other so fiercely, but were having difficulty coming to terms individually with all the really crappy stuff they'd been dealt. Which is really fair, how many other families find themselves in similar situations, you know? They're all just doing the best they can, and life is just hard. The writing was positively gorgeous. I could absolutely feel the pain radiating from the pages. The author did an amazing job setting the tone for the story, and it was sad but with specks of hope dotted, which is kind of perfect, considering the subject matter. Packs a big emotional punch in a very quick story. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't love reading a super quick book from time to time. I do, I love it. This one somehow makes the reader feel all the emotions during a fairly short time period, which is impressive. What I Didn't: This may be a "me" thing, but I have a ton of trouble connecting to characters in verse novels. Seriously, is this just me? Like I said, the writing was lovely and emotionally provocative without a doubt. I just wanted to feel a little more immersed in the characters themselves, but maybe I need to just let go of that expectation in verse books? Bottom Line: It's got beautiful writing, and a sister duo who have gone through more than they should have had to. But they go on, as we must, and this story illustrates it brilliantly.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    These two young women have been soaking in their grief since their mother's death. For years, Rowena's grief fueled her soccer prowess, and Ariana retreated, more and more, within herself. Fresh off another loss, Ariana disappears, in the middle of the night. The story alternated between both Ariana and Rowena as they work through their grief and loss. I think I shed a tear or two almost every time we flipped back to Ariana. Her pain was palpable, and my heart really ached for her. The whole tim These two young women have been soaking in their grief since their mother's death. For years, Rowena's grief fueled her soccer prowess, and Ariana retreated, more and more, within herself. Fresh off another loss, Ariana disappears, in the middle of the night. The story alternated between both Ariana and Rowena as they work through their grief and loss. I think I shed a tear or two almost every time we flipped back to Ariana. Her pain was palpable, and my heart really ached for her. The whole time, they really needed each other, but neither was emotionally prepared to be there for the other. However, it was satisfying to see them make enough headway to begin to reconnect in a meaningful way. I found this a rather beautiful story of sisterhood in the face of great losses, which was both painful and touching. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Ariana has disappeared. Her sister Row is first to discover this, but she can’t find any clues as to where she might be. Told in two voices in verse, this is a heart-felt story about grief and the ways it can manifest and emerge so differently for everyone. When Row and Ariana’s stepmother loses her 12-week pregnancy, Ariana spirals into grief as the wounds of losing her mother six years prior -- and being the person with her as she died. Row, too, finds sadness welling up inside her again, but s Ariana has disappeared. Her sister Row is first to discover this, but she can’t find any clues as to where she might be. Told in two voices in verse, this is a heart-felt story about grief and the ways it can manifest and emerge so differently for everyone. When Row and Ariana’s stepmother loses her 12-week pregnancy, Ariana spirals into grief as the wounds of losing her mother six years prior -- and being the person with her as she died. Row, too, finds sadness welling up inside her again, but she takes it out by turning deep into her love of soccer. For her, whenever she’s on the field, her mother is right there with her. With the help of her friend Kennedy, Row begins to look for her sister, and it’s here we see the wells of her sadness emerge, particularly as Kennedy gets overbearing in relation to why it was she didn’t know Row’s stepmother had been pregnant. Ariana’s voice is present in this story, though it’s told primarily through flashbacks. She’s hopped on a bus, and we know there’s a piece of artwork in her lap. A few stops in, a former best friend gets on the bus, and she begins to share the story of the dissolution of their once-close connection. Ariana wanted to be so mired in her grief she couldn’t understand that other people, including this friend named Alex, deal with their personal losses in different means. Row finds Ariana, and the end of the book is a beautiful reflection of friendship, sisterhood, and the ways that loss and sadness can tie and unite people, as much as hurt and divide them. Rosario nails grief so perfectly, offering up the ways we can be cruel and isolating toward others, as much as the ways we can seek the comfort of a loved one through the things we cherish. For Ariana, it turns out, art is therapeutic in a way that she never anticipated until Row shares how much pouring herself into soccer has meant her mother is with her always. The verse is well written and the story is tightly told over a period of less than a single day. But within that day, we see a large expanse of life for both Row and Ariana. Both are girls of color who are part Filipino, and their ethnicity is something that furthers the power of exploring grief here -- it’s not something palatable, clean, easy, and consumable like the white media and “research” suggests it should be. This one hit me in some tender places, as I deal with a big loss in my own life. I felt both girls’ pains deeply and saw their methods of working through it as part of my own, too. This is a quick read, but it is in no way a slight one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Monica (Tomes Project)

    dnf @ p. 45 Sadly, this one really didn't work for me. The premise is very appealing to me, which is why I requested a review copy, it's exploring grief and guilt and the disappearance of our main character's sister. But, it's written in dual perspective and both perspectives are written in verse, and for me that was kind of the breaking point of this story for me. The stylistic differences between the two sisters was not significant enough for me to easily grasp onto which sister was experiencin dnf @ p. 45 Sadly, this one really didn't work for me. The premise is very appealing to me, which is why I requested a review copy, it's exploring grief and guilt and the disappearance of our main character's sister. But, it's written in dual perspective and both perspectives are written in verse, and for me that was kind of the breaking point of this story for me. The stylistic differences between the two sisters was not significant enough for me to easily grasp onto which sister was experiencing which emotions. I would have much rather one perspective (probably Row's) in verse while Ariana's could have been in traditional prose. I think that would have been a very quick way to distinguish between characters and have a firmer grasp on the actual story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! I’ll post a review shortly in advance of publication! ***Updated on 3/2/20 in accordance with publication... 3.75 stars This is a moving verse novel written from the perspectives of two sisters, both of whom are dealing with the aftermath of their mother's death, father's remarriage, and another source of more recent familial loss. I wish I had gotten to know the characters a bit better, but I did enjoy learning about their relationship, their ind Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! I’ll post a review shortly in advance of publication! ***Updated on 3/2/20 in accordance with publication... 3.75 stars This is a moving verse novel written from the perspectives of two sisters, both of whom are dealing with the aftermath of their mother's death, father's remarriage, and another source of more recent familial loss. I wish I had gotten to know the characters a bit better, but I did enjoy learning about their relationship, their independent processing of their mother's death, and their evolving sense that there could be some kind of healing on the horizon. The final scene did a lot for me in ramping up the overall quality of the work. I love the symbolism, find it totally appropriate for the audience, and think this is a great representation of how grief comes in many forms. Overall, this is a pain-filled but hopeful work -

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    2.5 Stars Sad to say but this book is not going to be memorable for me. It wasn’t terrible but it was great either...

  14. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    There was so much about this book that was done brilliantly! I love the way this book looks at grief, specifically how it shows that people grieve very differently. There are the two sisters, Ariana and Row, and they both have very different experiences of grief. There are also others in the book who are grieving and they process their grief different from the two protagonists. I also loved the way sisterhood was portrayed. Ariana's feelings of not being enough of a sister, of feeling like she s There was so much about this book that was done brilliantly! I love the way this book looks at grief, specifically how it shows that people grieve very differently. There are the two sisters, Ariana and Row, and they both have very different experiences of grief. There are also others in the book who are grieving and they process their grief different from the two protagonists. I also loved the way sisterhood was portrayed. Ariana's feelings of not being enough of a sister, of feeling like she should be more simply because she is the older sister. Row's feeling of wanting the two of them to be the same, her confusion about Ariana and feeling like she doesn't know her. These were all done brilliantly. I liked a lot of the poetry in this book but a lot of it also didn't really work for me. I also found it really difficult to distinguish between the voices of Ariana and Row. Poetry can be such a specific thing, and the way we express ourselves through poetry can be really personal so I was disappointed that there was very little separating Ariana's poetry from Row's. I also felt that the emotional themes of the book weren't explored as deeply as I would have liked. I think this book would have benefited from being a little bit longer, or from teasing out Ariana and Row's emotional resolutions a little bit more. I also just really hated Row's friend, Kennedy. I think she was demanding so much of Row and the narrative kind of suggests that Row should have been more open with her. Which...maybe, but Kennedy shouldn't have demanded it in the way that she did. It didn't feel like the sign of a particularly good friend and it felt like the narrative wanted us to believe that Kennedy was a really great friend to Row. (view spoiler)[ She literally gets angry at Row for not telling her that her stepmother was pregnant after she has a miscarriage. There are obviously so many reasons that someone might not share the news of a pregnancy, as can be seen in this book with Maribel losing the baby. I appreciate a teenager might not realise that, but I wish that it hadn't been portrayed like Row was a bad friend for not telling Kennedy about it. Also, for Kennedy to sense that something is wrong and still be quite insensitive in a lot of ways...it's just not being a great friend. Obviously, there's a lot of complexity to friendships and relationships. I just wish the narrative didn't paint it as simply as Row being in the wrong and Kennedy being in the right. (hide spoiler)] I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a powerful portrayal of grief, or those looking for a book exploring the complexity of sisterhood.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    "I am a human with grief. Just like we all will be someday. Because there is only one universal truth in the world. That we and everyone around us will someday die, and grief is all that remains in the aftermath." Turtle Under Ice is a story about two sisters who are trying to move on six years after the loss their mother. Rowena, a soccer star, basically wants life to stay the same and struggles to deal with the fact that it will inevitably change. Ariana, the sister who was with her mom when sh "I am a human with grief. Just like we all will be someday. Because there is only one universal truth in the world. That we and everyone around us will someday die, and grief is all that remains in the aftermath." Turtle Under Ice is a story about two sisters who are trying to move on six years after the loss their mother. Rowena, a soccer star, basically wants life to stay the same and struggles to deal with the fact that it will inevitably change. Ariana, the sister who was with her mom when she collapsed, struggles to find an identity outside of "the girl with the dead mom". Ultimately, the story is about their relationship with each other as much as it's about them moving past their mother's death. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! I felt like this was a little clumsy. There were a lot of side plots that were hastily introduced and went nowhere. For example, there's one about their stepmother suffering a miscarriage. But you barely interact with the stepmother or the father and they don't really talk about the miscarriage other than to say they were excited for a new sister and sad they didn't get to meet her. It felt shoehorned in to add a more recent grief since they lost their mom six years ago. I honestly didn't know why it was there. There's a side plot about Ariana's friend, Alex, who's in a band and lost her brother. This also basically went nowhere. Ariana "grows" as a character after confronting this character, but if it wasn't in there, I think she could have come to the same conclusion without this taking up so much of the plot. There's a plot about Rowena having a misunderstanding with a friend because she didn't tell her friend that the stepmom was pregnant. That lasts about two poems before it's "resolved", so I'm unsure why it was there. I just felt like this was a lot of filler for half-baked characters who don't really have personalities aside from "grief" (and "soccer" in the case of Rowena). I liked Rowena more because she had more of a personality. Ariana is kind of unlikable. She does something late in the book that is pretty unacceptable, even if you have lost someone. Reading this reminded me of that line from Guardians of the Galaxy: "Everybody's got dead people." It sounds mean, but it's true. Experiencing grief doesn't make them special nor does it make them fully formed characters. It just felt like they were aimlessly going from plot line to plot line for 250 pages. I didn't sense motivation or purpose. It's just a boring day in the life of two girls whose only trait is "melancholy". I'm sure there is SOMEONE who will really appreciate this book. I was not the target audience, so I feel like it's a case of "not the book for me". It's a short read about a heavy topic that is kind of fumbled along the way. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read. It's just middle of the road, mediocre as a book. For that reason, I gave it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

  16. 5 out of 5

    Creya

    We follow two sisters, the one who ran away and the one who was left behind. Years ago, they were also both inadvertently left behind by their mother, who died of a heart attack in a Starbucks. One thing to remember: things are not always as they seem. Unfortunately the book spans only a single day. I think I would have liked to see more to really understand the emotional progressions of Rowena and Ariana.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this novel in verse! . . . Rowena and Ariana are sisters of Filipino heritage who are both deeply affected by the loss of their mother years ago and their stepmother’s recent miscarriage. The sisters are very different; Row is a talented soccer player with tons of friends and Ariana is quiet to the point of nearly being invisible and without hobbies or interests. One snowy morning, Row wakes to find her sister gone. Ariana has left their town on a bus to the city with an unknown desti ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this novel in verse! . . . Rowena and Ariana are sisters of Filipino heritage who are both deeply affected by the loss of their mother years ago and their stepmother’s recent miscarriage. The sisters are very different; Row is a talented soccer player with tons of friends and Ariana is quiet to the point of nearly being invisible and without hobbies or interests. One snowy morning, Row wakes to find her sister gone. Ariana has left their town on a bus to the city with an unknown destination in mind. . . . Told in first person alternating free verse from each sister, the entire book takes place in one day. The girls’ grief is front and center almost as if it were a character in the book itself. While somewhat slow moving, the book is introspective on the nature of grief. The girls both speak in plain language making this novel in verse accessible for all readers. Recommended for all middle school and high school collections. . . . #middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla #mediaspecialist

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    3’5 “The thing about death is that you can never fight it. Be it bacterial or viral, addiction or cancer, natural causes or accidents, something is destined to kill us. Because in the natural order of things, dying happens.” “But without the lights turned on, does anyone even notice that we are broken?” “I’m just here. The product of a failed backstory. In German there is a word for experience, Erlebnis, which comes from the verb erleben, and translates as living through something. In English, we have no s 3’5 “The thing about death is that you can never fight it. Be it bacterial or viral, addiction or cancer, natural causes or accidents, something is destined to kill us. Because in the natural order of things, dying happens.” “But without the lights turned on, does anyone even notice that we are broken?” “I’m just here. The product of a failed backstory. In German there is a word for experience, Erlebnis, which comes from the verb erleben, and translates as living through something. In English, we have no succinct word for living through something.” “I could learn from the internet the difference between menstrual cups, tampons, and pads. I could learn from a Google search home remedies on how to relieve cramps, and my questions about sex? There were plenty of sources for that. But what the internet lacked were any real lessons on how to navigate this world as a young woman who felt solely defined by her grief.” “This young woman is productively applying a coping strategy to manage her feelings of sadness.” “Maybe hope is like a turtle under ice breathing through its shell, through its biochemistry, still alive. Maybe hope waits for spring to come, for the ice to thaw for the weight of the pond that encapsulates us to melt into nothing. But maybe we are not meant to wait for springtime. Maybe, instead, we are meant to break the ice and be free.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    This was a beautiful novel in verse, perfect for fans of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling.  Told through both Row and Ariana's perspectives, we are allowed to see the different ways in which these girls still grieve for their mother six years after her death, and grieve for the little half-sister that they never had the chance to meet.  Over the span of just two days, Row's life seems to explode: she can't find anyone to play soccer with her (her only coping mechanism), her sister has gone missi This was a beautiful novel in verse, perfect for fans of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling.  Told through both Row and Ariana's perspectives, we are allowed to see the different ways in which these girls still grieve for their mother six years after her death, and grieve for the little half-sister that they never had the chance to meet.  Over the span of just two days, Row's life seems to explode: she can't find anyone to play soccer with her (her only coping mechanism), her sister has gone missing, she's the only one able to recognize what needs to be done in the house, and her best friend is upset with her.   Ariana's life seems to explode, too: she's failing a course which means she might not graduate, she cannot stop grieving, and she left in the middle of the night to attend an extra credit event and meets her ex-best-friend on the way there.   Both girls' grief catches up to them, and they must make the mature decision to stop being defined by it.  It's perfect for grown-up fans of Frozen, and great for those who find sisterly bonds the most important bond of all.  I loved the ways in which their grief manifests, how their coping mechanisms (or lack thereof) seem to manipulate their actions and the ways in which they interact with their others, and their family.   What I find really interesting, though, something that I just now realized, is the fact that so much attention is placed on their late mother, yet there are no real-time conversations with their father or stepmother; an interesting choice that is both subtle and nuanced.  It truly goes to show how important mothers are in terms of navigating young adulthood, and how important sisters are in attempting to support each other. Turtle Under Ice certainly hits the mark for representing long-lasting grief, and succeeds in its efforts to allow the space and time the girls need in order to process their feelings. A fantastic book, and one that I can't wait for our library to purchase when released!

  20. 5 out of 5

    cindy

    Juleah del Rosario takes the reader through the different but similar ways two sisters deal with the passing of their mother. Ariana struggles with trying to let go of her grief, becoming the perfect role model for her younger sister, and finding her own place in a world so seemingly disconnected from personal emotion. Row struggles to piece together her broken family, and to prove to herself that she's more than just a soccer player. Things I loved: - Characterization: They way in which both ch Juleah del Rosario takes the reader through the different but similar ways two sisters deal with the passing of their mother. Ariana struggles with trying to let go of her grief, becoming the perfect role model for her younger sister, and finding her own place in a world so seemingly disconnected from personal emotion. Row struggles to piece together her broken family, and to prove to herself that she's more than just a soccer player. Things I loved: - Characterization: They way in which both characters deal with grief are different, but also very similar. Their sadness is impalpable, and it is truly mesmerizing to sit back and let del Rosario pull you gently through their stages of growth. - Angst: Me being me, I loved the angst aspect of the story. Row and Ariana's narrative isn't just about grief and family. It's also about friendship and kindness and finding your place in the world. As a teenager myself, I found myself really relating to the contemplation of their futures. They are faced with incredible emotional difficulties that add to the depth of the story, such as how to be a good friend, how to move on from a seemingly defining moment in your life, how to forgive and move on, and finally, how to feel okay again. - Writing: The writing is simply stunning. There are so many lines I would have posted here already if it was legal (arc rules, hehe), but I hope you trust me when I say that some of del Rosario's writing had my heart literally panging in my chest. Her writing is the kind of beautiful that sends you down a twisting tunnel of pain, but not in a terrible "Why would you do this to me?!" way, but more like a comforting, "I know the pain hurts, but it's important to understand" way. Would I recommend this book? YES. It's a wonderful story, and regardless of whether or not you have experienced grief, I think this book teaches a lesson about finding the balance between remembering and moving on that really is quite beautiful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taylor (TaysInfiniteThougts)

    Arianna is failing school, and may not graduate. She hasn’t told anyone and she has one last chance to get some extra credit so she can graduate. She’s doesn’t want anyone to know that she hasn’t done anything since her mother died. Row is an amazing soccer player. It’s her escape of sorts. When Row wakes to find Arianna missing, she feels abandoned. She and Arianna were supposed to be there for each other, always. Lyrically written, Turtle Under Ice a story about two sisters who are still grievin Arianna is failing school, and may not graduate. She hasn’t told anyone and she has one last chance to get some extra credit so she can graduate. She’s doesn’t want anyone to know that she hasn’t done anything since her mother died. Row is an amazing soccer player. It’s her escape of sorts. When Row wakes to find Arianna missing, she feels abandoned. She and Arianna were supposed to be there for each other, always. Lyrically written, Turtle Under Ice a story about two sisters who are still grieving their mother’s death many years later. Because the story is told from both sister’s point of view, you feel all of the grief, loss, and heaviness of it all. It didn’t take me long to read this book, which makes me both happy and sad. It makes me sad because the book was written so wonderfully that I felt like I was forming some kind of bond with the sisters. I’m happy because both girls realize that they don’t have to have their grief define them. Arianna is failing school, and may not graduate. She hasn’t told anyone and she has one last chance to get some extra credit so she can graduate. She’s doesn’t want anyone to know that she hasn’t done anything since her mother died. Row is an amazing soccer player. It’s her escape of sorts. When Row wakes to find Arianna missing, she feels abandoned. She and Arianna were supposed to be there for each other, always. I have never read a book written in verse like this and I can honestly say I was a little concerned I was going to have trouble with it. This book turned out to be so beautiful and I’m so glad that I read it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good book about sisterhood and grief. Thank you, NetGalley and Simon Pulse for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meliss

    This is an emotional punch to the throat and I enjoyed every second of it. I love a goo sibling story, and it's an incredible look at how two people who experience the same loss can grieve so differently. Stunning verse.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Rowena and Ariana are very close sisters, and for years afterwards, they each harbor grief from their mother's death in their own different ways. When their stepmother has a miscarriage, these emotions flare back to life. While Rowena contemplates at home, Ariana is doing the same while she makes her way through endless snow to hang up a precious painting at an exhibit. Turtle Under Ice is quiet yet expressive, accurately portraying that there is no one way to live through loss, and that it's al Rowena and Ariana are very close sisters, and for years afterwards, they each harbor grief from their mother's death in their own different ways. When their stepmother has a miscarriage, these emotions flare back to life. While Rowena contemplates at home, Ariana is doing the same while she makes her way through endless snow to hang up a precious painting at an exhibit. Turtle Under Ice is quiet yet expressive, accurately portraying that there is no one way to live through loss, and that it's alright to feel everything.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Slow start, fantastic ending. I'd love to read (more?) poetry by this author. I can tell she has big ideas and the capacity to execute them in other ways (though I do genuinely enjoy YA). I could've read it in one sitting if I wasn't so busy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Naika

    3.5 Stars This was harrowing. “Turtle under Ice” was beautifully written, though the ending was not what I thought the novel was building up to. Granted, I may have also misunderstood or misread the blurb, so I went into it with a different premise in mind. I enjoyed this far more than the author’s debut novel, however something felt missing or underdeveloped, hence not quite 4 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Levi van Zyl

    Turtle Under Ice is a book about grief, sisters, and healing. Six years ago, Ariana and Rowena lost their mother, and both girls are still reeling from the loss. When Ariana wakes up to a snowstorm to find her sister is gone, she wonders if she's part of the cause, and starts to answer questions that have been left for six years. HOLY. CRAP. This book was beautiful and poignant and so goddamn good! I was initially interested because the cover is gorgeous, but it also sounded like a mystery. It's Turtle Under Ice is a book about grief, sisters, and healing. Six years ago, Ariana and Rowena lost their mother, and both girls are still reeling from the loss. When Ariana wakes up to a snowstorm to find her sister is gone, she wonders if she's part of the cause, and starts to answer questions that have been left for six years. HOLY. CRAP. This book was beautiful and poignant and so goddamn good! I was initially interested because the cover is gorgeous, but it also sounded like a mystery. It's very much not a mystery, but an intense contemporary told in verse, a format I am a downright sucker for. The POVs are between Row, the sister who has coped by throwing herself into soccer and trying to block out the pain of her mother dying, and Ariana, the sister who doesn't know how to handle the grief that still consumes her. I really like that this book takes place six years after their mother's death instead of right after, because it explores the ongoing trauma of losing a parent or family member. At the beginning of the book, the sisters have grown apart, even though sisterhood is something they both cherish. Ariana and Row have roughly the same age gap as my sister and I, and I think that's why it hit so close to home. I could see so much of our relationship here that it made it an intensely personal read. Ariana and Row have different enough voices that it didn't feel like the same person with the POV switches, and the discussion of grief and how to heal, how sometimes the grief will never stop, is one that is important to discuss even years following a death, especially one as impactful as a mother's death. I absolutely loved this exploration, and the ending had me shedding a few tears. The only thing I didn't like was some of the pacing. At some places I thought the verses were a little stilted and slow, but it wasn't anything that disrupted my love of the characters. Both Row and Ariana are somewhat unlikeable, and for this purpose, for the purpose of them healing, I liked that. They're both angry girls who are sad and feel like maybe they will never be the same sisters they were before. And the emphasis that's made here is because they won't. They won't be the same sisters they were before their mom died, and it's okay not to be. Change happens, and sometimes it hurts and is hard and sharp, but it doesn't mean life gets to stop. The conversation of change and healing hit me hard and took my breath away. From cover to cover this book is a gorgeous story of love, sisterhood, trauma, and healing, and the way change will change us. It's absolutely beautiful and just the right side of heartbreaking.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario is a parallel narrative told in free form verse. The two voices are sisters: Rowena, the younger one, and Ariana, the older. Ariana has gone missing, leaving on a personal mission to clear her head after the miscarriage her stepmother suffered. Rowena, meanwhile, is stuck at home with parents who have stopped functioning in their grief. No one is shopping for groceries. No one is doing the dishes. And neither of them seem to have noticed Ariana's absence. CCC Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario is a parallel narrative told in free form verse. The two voices are sisters: Rowena, the younger one, and Ariana, the older. Ariana has gone missing, leaving on a personal mission to clear her head after the miscarriage her stepmother suffered. Rowena, meanwhile, is stuck at home with parents who have stopped functioning in their grief. No one is shopping for groceries. No one is doing the dishes. And neither of them seem to have noticed Ariana's absence. CCCC66 sibling uhoria off-road http://pussreboots.com/blog/2020/comm...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    4.5 - a lot of feels in a short book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Isha Narang

    This book was written in verse. While the story only takes place over a day, most of it is told in the girls' memories. I wish less of it had been done like that. At times it annoyed me that the author couldn't just get on with the story. The ending of the book was fantastic if not a little cheesy. The story is told in alternating points of view, but both girls tell their stories the same way making it hard to differentiate them sometimes. Rowena wakes up to find Ariana gone. Ariana marches out This book was written in verse. While the story only takes place over a day, most of it is told in the girls' memories. I wish less of it had been done like that. At times it annoyed me that the author couldn't just get on with the story. The ending of the book was fantastic if not a little cheesy. The story is told in alternating points of view, but both girls tell their stories the same way making it hard to differentiate them sometimes. Rowena wakes up to find Ariana gone. Ariana marches out into the snowstorm to get on a bus. The girls spend the day thinking about how they define themselves, their grief and their relationship.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Unrealistic that both sisters would have a realization about their mother’s death at the same time, but I love the ending.

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