- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan (April 1 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330421840
- ISBN-13: 978-0330421843
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.9 x 18.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 59 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
Winter Paperback – Apr 1 2005
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About the Author
John Marsden is Australia's bestselling author for teenagers and a highly acclaimed picture book writer. His titles include Winter, The Head Book, The Boy You Brought Home and Millie. John Marsden lives at the Tye Estate, just outside of Melbourne, where he opened a school called Candlebark in January 2006. The school currently has 52 students, ranging from Prep to Year 7.
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The memories that have been teasing Winter about her parents are also chillingly brought to life by her Great-Aunt Rita.
Through it all we think that Winter will be just fine. And we're sort of glad she gets to be a kid again, too.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I enjoyed this short novel about a teenage girl discovering who she is and taking control of her life. Winter is a strong character and the author does a great job getting into the head of a teenage girl who is both fearless but vulnerable.
In the meantime Warriewood is being managed by Ralph and Sylvia - a couple Winter doesn't entirely trust, who have let her old homestead go to ruin while they suck the Warriewood property dry.
But upon her return home, Winter finds that the past is not quite ready to be put to rest. She has questions; about her mother's death, the distant relatives she never knew she had and the shadowy memories that come flooding back.
`Winter' was the 2000 stand-alone novel from one of Australia's most beloved young adult writers, John Marsden.
I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for the young adult novels of my actual young adulthood. I'm from a very lucky generation who grew up with the YA genre, so was never lacking in reading options throughout my teenage years. And as an Australian, I really had a superior reading list to choose from - among the first YA novels I read were those by Melina Marchetta, Nick Earls, Margo Lanagan, Jaclyn Moriarty and the wonderful John Marsden. It's a testament to these fine Australian young adult writers that they've stood the test of time (teen-time, no less!) and are still widely read and published today. And being that I'm a complete bibliophile, I don't throw books away - ever. So I have a few `vintage' Aussie YA novels, if you will. I was perusing my bookcase and John Marsden's `Winter' stood out for me.
I remember reading `Winter' when I was younger (about 12 or so) but the story was hazy for me. Whereas other Marsden books stick out prominently in my mind (`Checkers', in particular for that ohmygod curveball ending) `Winter' was bringing up a bit of a blank, beyond remembering that I really loved it. So I thought it warranted a revisit and, honestly, I so enjoyed re-reading that I think I might have to do more retro re-reads of my favourite early YA books.
The book opens with a prickly introduction to Winter De Salis, as we meet her returning home after twelve years away. Winter is rude and combative to Sylvia and Ralph, the seemingly nice caretakers of her parent's old estate. By her own admission, Winter doesn't do well with impulse or anger control and we see that in the first few chapters. It's an interesting introduction which instantly puts readers on the back-foot, thinking this is a nasty young woman with a chip on her shoulders. But, that's part of the beauty of this novel in which nothing is as it seems.
As the story unravels we learn of Winter's tragic past - an orphan by the age of four, living in boarding schools and waiting for the day she turns eighteen and can become her own woman and accept full responsibility for Warriewood. In the meantime, and at the age of sixteen, Winter is coming home to put persistent demons to rest - to know what really happened to her mother, and to confront the dark, unfocused memories of her childhood.
It's only when Winter starts opening herself up to the past that she starts accepting the future and living in the present. She does so by crushing on Warriewood neighbour, Matthew Kennedy, and befriending local girl Jessica McGill.
`Winter' is a quiet novel, as many of Marsden's books tend to be. Marsden really does excel at lulling readers, and writing sleight of hands that distract us from the monumental wallop we're going to be dealt before the final page. This is also true of `Winter', which has a dark climax and explanation for Winter's haunting memories. That's part of the beauty of a Marsden novel - he sneaks up on the reader and leaves you with big questions to mull over once all is said and done. I especially like that he does leave the reader with questions - he's not a fan of writing definitive answers or wringing out character's responses. Part of the fun and gravity is that he leaves readers to make up their own minds and decide what they'd do if put into a similar situation.
Again, as with most Marsden novels, `Winter' is relatively short - a mere 135 pages. He doesn't need much more than that though; Marsden always starts stories from the meatiest part - in `Winter' he certainly could have started earlier, even with a prologue of Winter's four-year-old self. But there's something very satisfying about a book that starts at the highest point of action, when all the balls are in the air for the character and readers meet them at the most important moment of their lives.
`Winter' was as satisfying a read the second time round as it was the first. Thankfully for me, I forgot the sneaky curveball denouement and was given the opportunity to read the jaw-drop all over again. This book reminds me why Marsden is one of the Aussie greats, and makes me thankful that I had such a good young adult reading foundation growing up.
While living in Warriewood, she starts to do some research on her parent's deaths. One day she finds their graves and learns that her father died in a drowning accident. She starts asking people about her mother's death, but she doesn't believe any of the stories she hears. Will she ever find out how her mother died, or will the truth be kept from her forever?
I liked this book because Winter's personality is similar to mine. If I was Winter, I would have wanted to find out how my parents died too, because I believe that you should always know the truth about your family. If you like moving books, read this one to find out if Winter ever discovers the truth.
--- Reviewed by Ashley Hartlaub