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Snow in Summer: The Tale of an American Snow White

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,254 ratings  ·  237 reviews
With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father's garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, Cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother. But when the baby dies soon after he's born, taking Summer's mama with him, Summer's fairy-tale ...more
Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Published November 10th 2011 by Penguin Group, LLC
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No one is ever going to fight me on the fact that Jane Yolen is just a really, really solid writer. I don’t need to debate this with you. So when I give this kind of a mediocre type of review, you will understand that it’s not the writing, it’s just that I’m nit-picky and couldn’t quite wrap my brain around this fairy-tale retelling.

Initially I was all “Hot damn! Snow White retold in Depression-era Appalachia, where she wears her own caul in a bag around her neck for protection, and where the wi
Ranting Dragon

Jane Yolen’s latest novel, Snow in Summer, is a wonderful addition to her series of reinvented fairy tales. Like her earlier Briar Rose, this is a dark retelling of a Grimm fairy tale—in this case, Snow White instead of Sleeping Beauty. It follows a girl named Snow in Summer, who tells the tale of her childhood in retrospect as she grows up in the mountains of West Virginia. It was published in November of 2011 by Philomel.

To clear a few things up
Over and
A wonderful, strange, and deliciously creepy version of Snow White. Set in the mountains of West Virginia during the mid-Twentieth Century, Yolen doesn't have to get bogged down with creating a whole new fantasy world, instead she assumes you understand the setting, and uses spare language to tell you the story in her own way. I couldn't put this down!
A very different re-telling of Snow White. One of the weird things about it is Summer (the Snow White character) loves to read fairy tales - one of which is Snow White.... so it's a little odd that the main character, who has read the story of snow white doesn't recognize that same story unfolding again with her.

It was an okay book but it was mostly just something for me to read - I was kind of bored with it. Luckily it was an easy light read.

Questions not answered:
What "power" does the caul h
Hylary Locsin
Originally posted on my blog: ! Check it out for more reviews!

Snow-in-Summer Morton’s life changed forever at age seven when her mother died in childbirth, leaving her alone and her father, Lemuel, with a broken heart. Cousin Nancy, the widow of Summer’s father’s favorite cousin who was recently killed in World War II, helps to care for Summer after her father slips into a deep, dark grief unable to cope with the death of his beloved wife. One day, four year
S. Todd Strader
“I excused myself because I was only twelve. Because I worried about Papa. Because I wanted a real mama. Because I was, somehow, all alone. But those were only excuses. I acquiesced, plain and simple.

No-- I promised myself. If I am truly becoming a woman by this pain, I should act like one.” -- Snow In Summer, Jane Yolen

Snow in Summer has lost her mother. She has lost her father first to grief and now to a witch. Now “stepmother” bides her time so that when Snow In Summer loses her childhood she
Okay first...the cover is amazing. It's what made me decide to read the book in the first place (that and knowledge of Jane Yolen's writing) and know, looking at it after finishing the book...there are so many little pieces from the story tied in.

Snow in Summer is a beautiful little girl, but, as often happens to such little girls, tragdey has struck. Her mama, in the process of giving birth to her new baby brother, has died, along with the baby. Summer is sad, obviously, but her sorrow is noth
Lolly's Library
As Mark Twain was to the birth of American folklore, so Jane Yolen is to the next generation of Americana. Yolen is able to take classic Old World folk tales, clothe them in distinctly American cultures, mores, and histories, and present a story which gives a nod to its European roots while remaining uniquely American.

Snow in Summer is no different. At its heart, you will find the traditional Snow White fairy tale: evil stepmother/wicked witch, potions and poisons, magic mirror, the hunter, even

A new approach to the Snow White tale sets in mid-20th century West Virginia. On the one hand it is heavily grounded in the reality of the time, showcasing boys who didn’t come back from “some beach in France”, lingering effects of the Great Depression, substance living, dirt roads, sketchy social services, plant lore, folk singing, snake handling, and grief and love. On the other hand, there is some serous Magic with a capital M involving potions, plants, a caul, a magic mirror, and draining pe
I’ve always wanted to read a Jane Yolen novel (I KNOW) so when I came across Snow in Summer, a retelling of Snow White, I thought it would be a perfect place to start.

The story is set in a small town in West Virginia in the 40s and it follows the story of Snow in Summer, a child who is 7 years old when her mother dies. After her death, Summer’s father, Lemuel, is grief-stricken: he barely acknowledges Summer’s existence and spends most of his nights at his wife’s graveside, fading away little by
Snow in Summer sounds as if it has an interesting premise. As a retelling of “Snow White” in West Virginia, it leads readers to expect a unique, more contemporary twist on the fairytale, perhaps like Suzanne Weyn’s retellings of “The Frog Prince” (Water Song) and “Rumpelstiltskin” (The Crimson Thread). Unfortunately, Snow in Summer is rather dull and barely draws on its setting at all.

If not for the summary, it might be difficult to tell that the book is in fact set in West Virginia. Summer migh
I picked this up from the children's section of the library the other day because I love fairy tale retellings, and the cover is nice. However, it was one of those where the whole way through I kept waiting for it to get better and felt like I'd wasted my time when I was done. It was just too dark for me. The stepmother was creepy--really EVIL and we had to hear too much about it (I think it'd be disturbing for kids). The "___ Remembers" chapters were fine for characters who were still alive at ...more
I wish I could give this book one more star. I love Jane Yolen's novel The Devil's Arithmetic, so when I saw this one I had to read it. An author I enjoy, plus a fairy tale retelling. Win-win, right?

However, there were aspects that I disliked. First was the foreshadowing at the end of every single chapter. I got it the first time. You can't trust the stepmother, bad things are going to happen, etc. I felt like it was dragged out beyond belief as well. Two-thirds of the novel is set-up. I though
If you like great retellings of fairy tales, don't miss this one. (The spell-checker hates the word, "retellings." Too bad.)

Jane Yolen is a crazy-talented writer. This book is the traditional tale of Snow White with a big takes place in rural Appalachia in the 1940's. If you read my reviews at ALL, you know that I hate writing summaries as much as my challenged students if it's a synopsis you want, click on the book!

Yolen's characterizations woven into the unique setting are a
Other than the few elements of fantasy, it is also a good historical fiction about life in rural West Virginia. The story develops slowly, but that is because the author made it ten times longer than the version of the fairy tale that most of us have read. This allows for more development of the characters, as well as the side plots, ranging from the social life in the community to the controversial church in the hills, based on a real religious movement in the South.
I still think that naming a
Short & Sweet: It's been a while since I saw a fairy tale retelling in America that is not modern. This one takes place in the early 1900s and Yolen does an amazing job of pulling you into the setting and story. Instead of Summer's father dying, he is under a spell after he marries Stepmama. The view point alternates, showing not only Summer and Stepmama's views, but also Cousin Nancy's at times. The reader gets to delve into the reasons why Stepmama does what she does and it really is quit ...more
I really wanted to like this book. It had an interesting perspective and a lot of potential but it just didn't work for me. The beginning was repetitive and dull and could have been summarized in one chapter. By page 45 I almost gave up. I liked the stepmama character but the "magic" could have been fleshed out and explained in more detail. There were a few plot holes that didn't make sense to me and explanations that never panned out. The changes of narrative perspective were somewhat confusing ...more
Snow in Summer is Snow White set in the West Virginia mountains the years during and after World War II. Her father isn’t a king, but a farmer with rich bottom land, who can grow anything until his wife dies, and who over-grieves his wife’s death and falls under the sway of a magic user. Summer, though very young when her mother dies, takes care of her father, even does the farming for him, and then her Stepmother. Summer doesn’t leave her Stepmother, but when she takes her to a snake-handling c ...more
I know Jane Yolen is a masterful storyteller, and I suppose the book is well enough written, but I just didn't enjoy it at all. (And I generally like fairy tale retellings; I love the "Once Upon a Time" series and Robin McKinley's "Beauty" is one of my favourite books ever.) This story, however, is a strange mashup of Snow White and the gritty, daily life of post WWII rural Virginia that doesn't really work. Worst of all, it is just plain grim. There is little in the way of redemptive qualities, ...more
Interesting version of Snow White.
What was your first experience with Snow White? Was it the Disney film, the Disney Golden Book version, or the German version by the brothers Grimm?

What image is most clear to you from the story? The evil queen, the mirror, the happy home of the dwarves, the hag and the apple, the glass coffin? Something else?

All of the above images come to mind for me when I think of Snow White, but perhaps my favorite is an image of the queen, sitting at the window sewing and thinking about the baby she carrie
Katy Wilmotte
What an odd little book. It claims to be a re-telling of Snow White, but the actual events of Snow White don't begin until the last third of the book, and then it's a clumsy tumble and bumble rush to a very abrupt end.
What is strangest, however, is the fact that the characters accept at face value the presence of magic in the form of Stepmama, but yet do not in any other way live as if magic were happening under their very noses. Summer believes Cousin Nancy when she says that her new stepmoth
I really enjoyed this book---young adult, but would be enjoyed by anyone who likes fairy tales retold. It's Snow White set in a small town in West Virginia. There are all the familiar elements--girl whose mother dies, sad and lonely father, evil stepmother, poisons, potions and a magic mirror, a hunter, seven little men in a forest cottage,etc. But it's all combined in a new, fresh way that makes it magic all over again. Jane Yolen does it again!
For a modernization of a fairy tale, Snow in Summer is pretty decent. It follows the tale of Snow White pretty faithfully.

However,I didn’t really like the style Yolen used in writing this tale. Full of “I didn’t know that until much later” and “We thought we had won. But we found out we were wrong” and other similar things. I’m not a big fan of that type of omniscient narration. The switches in POV that Yolen made also took away a lot of the suspense that she had set up in the previous POV.

It wo
An interesting take of the Snow White tale, with a twist on just about everything right down to the poisoned apple. My only beef with the book was the fact that most of it was taken up with the backstory of Stepmama, Snow and Papa leaving the the rest of the tale for the very end of the book. This made it feel rushed to me.
Premise- (3/5) As per usual, the promise of a redone fairytale drew me in. I will read pretty much anything fairytale, and this one was no exception. I was curious to see how Yolen was going to do Snow White in a relatively modern, less distant (for me at least) setting.
Characters- (3/5) I liked Snow in Summer alright. Occasionally I was a little frustrated by her perfection, I would've appreciated a good flaw. But I still liked her. I liked Cousin Nancy alot. Stepmama was a good villain, but I
A fantastic author tried a retelling of Snow White in West Virginia mountains. It felt very contrived. I didn't buy any of it till the end when she met the small miners. There was no romance and I never understood where the wicked stepmoter got her powers. It didn't fit in the world.
So, it's not that I didn't like the story... because the idea was quite interesting and the writing wasn't terrible. It was that it had a bit too many instances that didn't sit well with me. For instance... there are things that are clearly from "Snow White" and Summer knows this, yet it doesn't make her take pause as she looks at her "evil" stepmother... or the fact there is a talking mirror. A TALKING MIRROR, that doesn't bother you? You grew up in West Virginia, I'm pretty sure that would be ...more
Super disappointing. Dull and hyper-detailed for the first 150 pages, then a mad, blurry dash to the end.
Rachel Smith
Pretty interesting take on the Snow White tale, but it seems a little off that she knows about fairy tales including Snow White the Seven Dwarves. However, it's a well-told story and I finished it in a few days, so it's a fun, quick read. Plus, the historical setting seemed pretty accurate, and I've heard of the 'snake churches' before (they still exist today, in similar places).

All in all, would recommend unless the person had a very limited amount of time to read and wanted it all to be mind-b
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...
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“Aren't hidden doors the most alluring? The old stories point that out surely. Even the greatest heroes and heroines fall under the spell of a locked door.” 10 likes
“Even her powders and face paint couldn't disguise the age lines and gripe lines that ran as deep as the railway tracks some said were bound to cross our mountain any day so.” 1 likes
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