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The Coldest Winter Ever

(The Coldest Winter Ever #1)

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  33,403 ratings  ·  2,533 reviews
Renowned hip-hop artist, political activist, and bestselling author Sister Souljah brings the streets of New York to life in a powerful and utterly unforgettable first novel.

I came busting into the world during one of New York's worst snowstorms, so my mother named me Winter. Ghetto-born, Winter is the young, wealthy daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family. Qu
Mass Market Paperback, 430 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Pocket Star (first published April 1st 1999)
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  33,403 ratings  ·  2,533 reviews

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Diane Wallace
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lovely read! A classic,ruthless,blunt with lots of cliffhangers in the storyline and is exceptionally written. I encourage everyone to read this book (paperback!)
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Winter Santiaga is a spoiled, materialistic, troubled teenager. Throughout the novel, she is constantly trying to "stay on top". She grows up in the ghetto with a father who is a drug kingpin. Her father spoils her rotten and her mother feeds into this. They finally move out of the ghetto and into a rich, suburban area. Winter feels isolated and needs to go back to the ghetto and brag to her friends and complete strangers.

Winter also sees no problem with spending a few hundred dollars on an out
Mar 27, 2010 rated it liked it
David has insinuated that this novel is in some way comparable to Hitler or Mariah Carey, which I think is unfair. This book has been responsible neither for the attempted extinction of a race of people, nor for Glitter and dog-whistle mimicry. It is not a book that is going to stay in my heart for a long period of time, but one does care about the characters, and she writes vividly and is never boring. And that is enough for three stars, considering this was not a book I chose to read myself, s ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, year-2019
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars!

This was unexpectedly brilliant, and I only say unexpectedly because my stupid ass didn't do any research & thought this was a vampire novel when she first started.


But you should fuckin' read it because wow, what a ride?


This novel is raw.

This novel is deep.

This novel is authentic.

Honestly, after I pulled my head out of my ass & realized this IS NOT a vampire novel, I was shocked at how quickly I re
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fire that could not be extinguished from within..

Winter is the it girl from Brooklyn. She has it all. Clothes, Money, and Popularity. And then..'s ripped right out from under her.

This book was written like a memoir. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much. It felt real. There were deep, aching wounds that I felt, as if it were happening to myself. This book in it's nature explored the culture of street life in NY during the 1990s. There was discussion about the fashion, music, and cele
May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bechdel-pass
I would be rating this book more highly if I hadn't read the explanatory notes at the back! It had me struggling to drop off at night as I couldn't wait to find out what Winter would do next to recover from the disintegration of her life as the over-indulged daughter of a very rich Brooklyn drug dealer. Despite being almost a caricature of materialism and self-interest, Winter is so inventive and sharp I found it impossible not to root for her through most of her exploits, though she hurt many p ...more
Updated Review 09.2020

TW: rape (graphic description of after affects), drug use, drug dealing, homelessness, explicit sex, teenage pregnancy, abortion, gun violence, misogyny, underage drinking, abuse

So...this is a classic book. Not classic in the traditional sense, but classic to the Black community. It's a pivotal book to the Black community. A lot of us grew up with this book reading it at a time when we had no business reading it. It's a book that is heavily circulated in the prison system.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Overrated that’s what I first thought when I finished reading the Coldest Winter Ever by sister souljah. I thought the book was a let down for all the people thinking they are going to read the greatest novel in urban literature. I could not stand the naive ness of the character’s Winter, Ricky Santiaga and her mother. I believe she made it seem like all black people from the hood didn’t know any better. It was a stupid idea for her to add her own self in the story. Sister Souljah was mentioned ...more
Mar 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: If You Like the Urban Genre
Shelves: streetlit
This is the ultimate "hood lit" novel, but Souljah does it with such style, not amateurism. ...more
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teenagers, urban
Oooo, Winter Santiaga is so mean! Yet, so likeable. She's a total Scarlett O'Hara character.

Also, way to drop some crazy metafiction in there, Sister Souljah! And feminism. This book is a classic in the making. It's probably the next A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Khashayar Mohammadi
I might have enjoyed the book more if she had not written herself into the novel as a free-spirited woman, helping children who have "Lost their way" without playing any significant part in the narrative other than boisterously portraying how much she's above all these women. Only a narcissist can write herself into her own novel as a "Deus Ex-Machina".

All that set aside; even Swann's way does not have a 80 page appendix explaining its intricacies. I do not see the point of an 80 page (once agai
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it was very real...not that I know anything about the ghetto, but it kept my interest because it was written from a real life perspective. I was always yelling at the main character in the book for being a complete idiot, but that's why I loved it too. ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: three-times-read
Now I remember why this is my all time fav!

My opinion of Souljah dwindled after reading the three books that followed this in the series. (Two of the Midnight books and Porsche's book) I found her writing style to be all over the place and heavily laced with personal and sometimes offensive opinions. Re-reading this story made me fall in love with the characters and the author all over again.

What I love about this novel over the others is while the opinions are still there, it is not as blatant
Paul Bryant
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I like to read outside of my comfort zone. But this far out I probably needed a bathysphere. And now I got the bends.

Imagine you're reading On Cheshil Beach by Ian McEwan, and after the famous wedding night scene a friend of Florence told her that her and Edward should really go and see this highly recommended marriage guidance councellor, so they decide to give it a shot, and it turns out to be a guy called Ian McEwan, who is this lovely wise person who they instantly trust. And he dispenses hi
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
The book definitely moves along quickly and makes you wanna know what happens next. However, in order for me to like a book I either have to like the character or at least feel sympathy for the character. I neither liked nor felt sorry for Winter. She got everything she deserved and the end really didn’t state whether she really learned from her mistakes...and some of what happened to her — there was no reasoning behind it.

She got an abortion, so what? She didn’t learn anything. She got to live
Tanya Urban Fantasy Freak
I read this book back in my early twenties, Like one reviewer states Winter is like Scarlett O'hara - a mean bitch but you can't help but to root for her! She's vain, spoiled, selfish and will do anything to make it - But I have to respect her survival skills.

Winter is the beautiful first born daughter of a drug kingpin in Brooklyn, She's treated like a ghetto princess. Of course you know what usually happens with drug kingpins - the father goes to jail and all their bank accounts & valuable pr
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Updated review *
Now I remember why I started to explore books by Black authors. I tried to remember what made me enjoy reading so much and, after rereading The Coldest Winter Ever, now I've got it. I always enjoyed reading but there was a time when books seemed to come alive for me and it is marked by Sister Souljah's first novel. I grew up in the suburbs and know nothing of life in New York, the drug game, etc. But I've always felt The Coldest Winter Ever. I learned the importance of connectin
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading the Coldest Winter Ever and to my amazement I was displeased with the ending but I understand the message clearly. I can not get the sting of how she captured the essence of how clothes, hair, jewelry, houses, and cars are just materialistic dust. Winter is the prime example of everything I've seen and have promised myself never to become. That means working long hours and spending way too much time angry over a B I might receive for a paper. I want better for my child an ...more
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Took me 65 pg to get in to it.... But so worth it!!
Sidik Fofana
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
(six word review #3) if literary street fiction exists, this is...
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this years ago (it is THE book that made me want to be a writer) and loved it. Reading it again with my Teens Book Club.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down, no matter what was going on around me. This world was far from my world, yet it was so real. How long does it take to learn a lesson?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
African Americans on the Move Book Club
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
AAMBC Book Review, May 26, 2008

You can't say your a true book reader, if you havent read this book by sister souljah. One of the best street novels you would ever want to get your hands on. Winter Santiago is a spoiled brat and when her world is turned into a full 360 she has to find a way to survive. If you think you can use your body to get you what you want, your are in dullison. But Winter thought she could. When it is all said and done Winter is in a place that she never thought she woul
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-american
Gosh, this took me forever to read. But in the end I enjoyed it. Some places the story was slow paced, and I was turned off by the ignorant main character, Winter. But overrall, Souljah did a fantastic job weaving a story about about the ghetto, the struggle, and the hustle of New York. The characters all had interesting, distinctive, unique personalities, and there are many places in the story, you will find yourself relating to. The book leaves a lot of things unresolved, and that always bothe ...more
Book Reviews By Tara
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hello my Goodreads fam👋🏽. I just completed 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐖𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫 for the 2nd time. And mannnnn, I forgot how freakin awesome this book is! That ending just blew me away😯.

I feel like I need to go back and reread 𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 now. To be honest I stopped reading the Midnight Trilogy after the first book because I didn’t like the direction Sister Souljah took with Midnight’s love interest. Maybe after reading 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐀𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡 I’ll give 𝐀 𝐌𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐎𝐟 𝐒𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 and 𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 a try.

TIffany Mack
I really enjoyed this book. I can't wait to read the rest in the series. I just Winter would've chose a better decisions but hey when your back is up against the wall, you'll do anything by any means to survive. Read this book. Its worth it. ...more
Tyla Rodriguez
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
One word: OVERRATED. I expected something with twists and a great plot. At least for the character to learn something from all that she went through, and believe me, it was a bunch of dumb, unnecessary BS. Almost as if the author just needed filler material for her "novel". The writing was weak and don't even get me started on the grammatical errors.

Winter Santiaga, the books protagonist, is EXTREMELY unlikable. She's materialistic and self consumed. To really get into a book, I have to like th
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I read this book at least 3 times. This used to be my favorite book. I first read it in high school and loved it. I then read it a few years after that and again after that. Each time it was good, but the original excitement was taken away. If you haven't read it, buy a cop and read it because it's worth it. I just think I read it too many times. ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book almost 5 years ago but I remember loving it. This book is the book that originally got me hooked onto the urban/street lit genre. My first urban book.
And oooh did I love me some midnight... Definitely a must read!
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Black Queens Who ...: October Read 1 3 Oct 01, 2020 08:07AM  
Nicki Minaj as Winter Santiago for the film version if it were filmed today! 130 876 Aug 20, 2020 01:41PM  
The Great America...: Coldest Winter Ever 3 12 Dec 14, 2018 09:30AM  
Play Book Tag: The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah / 5 stars 2 13 Dec 09, 2018 09:34AM  

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Sister Souljah (born Lisa Williamson) was born in 1964 in New York City. She attended Cornell University's advanced placement summer program and Spain's University of Salamanca study-abroad program. She later majored in American history and African studies at Rutgers University. Her travels and lectures have taken her all over America, Europe, and Africa. In the mid-1980s, she founded, in cooperat ...more

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