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Book Reviews

Review: “Winter Longing,” Tricia Mills

August 15, 2011
Review: “Winter Longing,” Tricia MillsWinter Longing (Standalone)
Written by Tricia Mills
Published August, 2010 by Razorbill
272 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief
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three-stars

When Winter’s boyfriend is killed in a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s robbed of the future she’d only just allowed herself to believe might be hers. Winter and Spencer had been destined for one another. And after his death, Spencer’s presence continues to haunt her.

But when her next-door neighbor becomes an unlikely friend, Winter begins to accept all that she can’t change. Can she open herself to a new future . . . and a possible new love?

While Winter Longing is a quick and enjoyable contemporary YA tale dealing with the loss and discovery of love, I felt a little disappointed. It lacked a certain aspect of solidity, one that held me back from really loving the characters and their journey.

I liked the characters well enough, but I think that after you close the last page you’d forget them. It’s a sad and emotional journey for Winter, but one I felt would have impacted the reader a little more if we’d seen more of the boy she lost – Spencer. He seemed like a nice guy, but we didn’t ‘see’ or ‘hear’ enough about him for me to really get a connection. We saw him as a friend, sure, but there wasn’t enough of what made he and Winter ‘more’.

Upon saying that, I don’t know why Winter wasn’t sure that Spencer did like her the same way before the events of the novels. Through short flashbacks given at the end of each chapter, we see that he presents her with a certificate for the star he’d named after her. If that isn’t a clear indication of his feelings, well…

But it was sad the way he died. We don’t really hear much of the how and why, which I would’ve liked a little more of. I think it would’ve given Winter a little more closure if she’d know all the facts and they’d actually found a body. Still, this story isn’t about Spencer’s death (not at the baseline). It’s about how Winter copes and learns to love again.

Her relationship with Jesse was sweet, and it was good for her, but I’m not really sold on them as a couple. I think Tricia Mills could’ve done so much more with the storyline, rather than throwing us the typical ‘triumphing over bitchy ex-girlfriend’ and going to the ‘Snow Ball’ as a couple. I would’ve liked this novel to be a little more unique, rather than a slew of YA cliches mixed in with grief and loss. Still, it’s an enjoyable read and one you can get through quickly if you’ve got a lazy afternoon or a night plagued with insomnia.

If you’re looking for a quick read, pick this one up. But as I’ll say again a little further down, if you’re looking for a hard-hitting contemp that will leave you thinking about the story and its characters long after finishing it, pick up a book from Sarah Dessen or the like. I’d been waiting on reading this one for so long and couldn’t help but feel a little let down.

Recommended to: I guess this would be a great introductory to the world of contemporary YA fiction, but don’t go into it with too many high hopes. There is a lot better out there. I’d suggest authors like Sarah Ockler or Sarah Dessen if you want hard-hitting, realistic contemps that deal with loss and grief.

About Tricia Mills

Tricia Mills is a pseudonym of Trish Milburn. Trish Milburn has a background in print journalism and still continues to freelance write and copy edit in addition to writing romance for Harlequin American under her own name and young adult novels for Razorbill, a part of the Penguin Young Readers Group, as Tricia Mills.

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