- The Girl from Shadow Springs by Ellie Cypher
Trade ed. ISBN 9781534465695 $19.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781534465718 $10.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 7–10
Life in the barren iciness of Shadow Springs has always been tough, and seventeen- year-old orphan Jorie and her sister Brenna are surviving mostly by using/trading the loot Jorie takes from the dead bodies of foolish Southerners looking for treasure in the wild Flats. When a menacing stranger shows up looking for a specific dead guy (and more specifically the map he carried) and Jorie can’t produce the goods, he kidnaps Bren. Joined by Cody, the nephew of the dead man, she sets out to save Bren. Jorie’s slangy narration holds the roughness of someone who has spent a life surviving brutal elements but also the desperation of someone who has lost something precious, and the oscillation between her stone-cold determination and bubbling panic makes hers a compelling voice. Cypher builds her world with vivid descriptions of the snowswept Flats, frozen lakes with entire villages beneath them, and howling winds, with imagery so crystal-clear readers would be unsurprised to see frost curling the book’s pages. While some revelations are anticlimactic, the pacing is exceptional, capturing the brutal slog through unforgiving terrain to moments of pure, harrowing terror. Fans of Dittemore’s Winter, White and Wicked (BCCB 10/20) will find plenty to like here, but they’ll need a blanket and a hot drink for company.