The Girl from Shadow Springs

S. & S. Feb. 2021. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534465695.
Gr 8 Up–Legends of a vengeful Ice-Witch, larger-than-life wolves, and an underground city formed entirely of gold surround the Flats, the vast frozen tundra near Shadow Springs, where 17-year-old Jorie and her younger sister Brenna live alone, barely surviving in the brutal, endless winter. Jorie’s stoic disbelief in the legends does not stop her from stripping the frozen corpses of treasure hunters for valuables to support their meager existence. However, when she steals from the wrong person, her sister is kidnapped and Jorie must brave the Flats, and its all-too-real stories, in order to save her. Accompanied by a stranger named Cody, who seeks the truth about his uncle’s murder, Jorie embarks on a grim journey filled with hunger, rival bandit groups, and monsters of legend. This is a dark survival story, with a smattering of fantasy creatures and world-building that is never fully developed. Driven by the single-minded goal of reaching her sister, Jorie is a one-note narrator, and her growing friendship with Cody takes a backseat to detailed discussions of rations, fire building, and frostbitten extremities. All major characters are described as pale, implied to be white, and the setting is a fantasy version of an Arctic frontier.
VERDICT An additional purchase for collections where survival stories circulate well.

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