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Winterfolk

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Rain is a homeless teen living with her father in the woods outside Seattle, near a community of other homeless people called the Winterfolk. She finds safety and sanctuary in this hidden world—until the day that safety is shattered when she learns the city plans to clear the woods of everyone who lives there. Now she’s forced to confront Seattle, which is full of strange ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  33 reviews


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Kelly Gunderman
Check out this, other reviews, and more fun bookish things on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

I don't know why I put off writing my review for this book for such a long time. Winterfolk was a lot different from other books that I've read, and to be honest, it's probably the very first book that I've read with a homeless character as the main character of the book. This really made it an interesting read, because so much was going on and we really got to understand the modern world from th/>I
...more
Samantha (WLABB)
I have read quite a few YA books, and I must admit, I do not believe I have read any, which gave me such a detailed look into the life of a homeless teen. This was quite interesting, in that Rain had lived isolated from the outside world in a sort of compound.

Her sheltered existence showed in her observations and the narration as she sometimes seemed childlike. When King took her into to the city for her birthday, her inability to interact with strangers and her discomfort with the world at lar
...more
Madison
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How shall I describe this book? At once both hopeful and sad, gritty and yet filled with magic, Winterfolk pairs the harsh reality of homelessness with a magical, lyrical writing style to create an ethereal novel about love, family, belonging, acceptance, and community.

Rain lives in the Jungle, the forest outside of town that shelters the Winterfolk. Rain knows how to be invisible, living with her father, King - who is friend, protector, everything - and a collection of souls who use
...more
Rebecca Armstrong
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: edelweiss
Winterfolk has an extremely unique premise as we follow homeless girl Rain, her father and her best friend. Rain has lived out in the 'jungle' in the outskirts of Seattle for as long as she can remember, which means she has no education and strangely lacks any kind of street smarts. She is an... interesting narrator? Maybe unreliable would be the better word? She was so completely naive to the world around her that it was a real struggle to follow her around Seattle. She never seemed to think ab ...more
Rune
2.5 stars


So Winterfolk is a book by Janel Kolby which follows Rain, a homeless girl, as she wanders through Seattle. Don't let the blurb fool you. This isn't a book about Rain fighting back and protecting her home, it's kind of plotless if you know what I mean.

Instead, throughout this book, Rain is with her best friend King (maybe something more) and she's taken out on a trip to the city for her birthday. It's like her one last gift before King is going to take her
...more
Kimberley
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Munro's Kids
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, so I've seen a few reviews dinging this book on its language and general narration. Here's my take on it:

The narrator is a fifteen-year-old homeless girl living in a tent outside of Seattle with her (possibly alcoholic?) father. She's been homeless since she was ten years old, with no formal education since then. Her mother is gone, and she's the only child in a scattered community of people who call themselves the Winterfolk. She believes she can communicate with rats and squi
...more
Danielle
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult-lit
I was so, so excited to read this book, especially as it hits closer to home for me with it centering around the homeless community in Seattle. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into this book. There were a few reasons for this:

One of the first things that struck me about the writing was the main character’s thought process and her way of viewing the world, which was a bit jarring and difficult to get into. It’s clear as you read on that she’s not quite like most people and that the
...more
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 6/6/18: https://readinglark.blogspot.com/2018...

I fully admit that I picked this one up simply because of the Seattle setting. The Pacific Northwest is my favorite backdrop for fiction as well as daydreaming. I miss living in the Seattle area and I love reading about intriguing characters in that locale. I was also excited about this title because it felt original. I cannot recall ever reading a novel with a homeless main character, so in my opinion, this is an important addition to the world of
...more
Miranda
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The writing is magical, poetic, lyrical. I love the way that Kolby uses language, and also word placement on the pages, to create this story. Instead of happening in a land far far away, this story takes place in modern day Seattle. It’s fun to think about how this story could be a fairy tale of sorts, except that instead of Sherwood Forrest or NeverEver Land, it is Seattle in the 2010s.

This is a coming of age story written from the point of view of Rain, a girl who is growing up hom
...more
Alejandra Mateo
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Winterfolk by Janel Kolby is a book about a homeless community living outside of Seattle. It follows the story of a 15 year old girl, giving you her perspective of life as a homeless teen. I enjoyed this book because of how the author made an amazing story yet still helping others realize this is a problem many people are still facing. Reading this book made me realize how fortunate I am to be living in a home, having food to eat, and having the chance to go to school. Which is something the mai ...more
Celia McMahon
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What can I say about a book that is set in Seattle and told from the perspective of a homeless girl?

First, that is was completely unlike anything I have ever read. I mean, we get this point of view of someone who has never known anything but a tent in the forest. She has only her father as family and the other residents of "The Jungle" who call themselves Winterfolk. Rain is fifteen-years-old. She knows how to read, but not write and keeps a rock garden outside of her tent. Her fiend
...more
Trista
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I believe this is the first book I've read that gave such a detailed look inside the life of a homeless teen. Rain lived most of her life with her father, in their tent, moving when forced, never really putting down roots. She was very isolated and sheltered. The book wasn't particularly fast paced even though it mostly took place within a day or two and the focus mainly stayed on Rain and her trying to find her way back after being separated on a trip to Seattle.

Rain had just turned
...more
Sarah
I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rain is a homeless girl living with her father in a tent in a community of other homeless people. The group has been told to vacate the area because construction by the city will soon begin. As the group must find a new place to go, Rain is given the opportunity to explore the nearby city with her friend King. The two go to the local laundromat, where they are quickly separated. Rain spends the day traveling through the city trying
...more
Erin
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Caveat: despite my relatively low rating, I think there are quite a few people out there that will really love this book. My rating has more to do with the fact that I was expecting/hoping for one type of book and got a different type...

I was really excited about this one after seeing the prepub reviews. After having helped out in some homeless shelters in Seattle, I thought I might be able to make a real connection with this book. What I didn't know going in is that this book is not
...more
Mariah Bassett
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Not a lot of books on homeless people, which is sad. There's a lot.
I enjoyed Winterfolk, but sometimes Rain was really confusing and kind of crazy (not in a good way.)
I almost didn't want to finish this because of how weird the characters were..and how they treated Rain was weird and never explained in my opinion.
This book also kind of put me in a bad place because I could easily become someone like Rain. It's on the verge of happening and I can't do anything about it.
Anyways
...more
Deena Eaton
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
While there were't any specific issues with this book, it lacked plot. It just seemed to meander with no real goal. Add to that an unreliable narrator with mental illness and sometimes you just get lost wondering what is going on. I kept wondering who the Winterfolk were but when I found out it was a bit of a disappointment.

I finished the book, so it was absolutely read-able, but I just didn't love it.
Cindy
I liked this book but I didn't love this book.

Pros:
Great details about living on the streets being homeless and wonderful descriptions of Seattle

Cons:
the writing was a bit choppy because the main character is a bit mentally ill/delayed/inexperienced.
there wasn't that great of a plot element. There was a huge focus on showing the world from the homeless' eyes, but the plot element was weak.
Sometimes things got a bit too lyrical/flowy with the writing
Meghan
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a few chapters to get into Janel Kolby's writing style, but once I was used to it, the rhythm and lyrical quality of it pulled me along and I fell in love. Her characters feel so real, while the world feels a heartbeat away from magical realism, without ever making the leap. I missed Winterfolk when I wasn't reading it. Also notable for shining a light on the Seattle housing and homelessness crisis.
Katelyn Wolfe
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is difficult to describe. It is a glimpse into the life of a homeless teen. It is not plot driven and is written in stream of consciousness. It is intentionally difficult to follow. Winterfolk is one of the most unique ways I have seen an author develop a voice and a character in a long time. Overall, it was a thought-provoking and heartbreaking story to read.
Linda Spillman Bruns
It was thought-provoking. I think of homeless people as veterans or drug users, etc. and hadn’t really thought of homeless teenagers, so it gave me a different perspective. Also sad, with allusions to rape or sexual abuse. Definitely for more mature teens.
Judy Cummings
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful prose, a compelling protagonist, a unique and compelling contemporary setting with hints of magic—Winterfolk will pull you into the world of homeless teenagers. This book left me feeling simultaneously disturbed and hopeful.
Jenny
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monical
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Great title, but the book is really badly written and pointless. Too bad, I would be very interested in homelessness from this person's point of view. I hope the author tries again, but s/he was badly served by the lack of guidance and editing in this book.
Hei
Sep 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Do not read please!!!
Camilla Luong
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: quiet, sad
It was okay. Nothing seemed to really happen tbh. Seemed like an unfinished story. Left me a bit confused.
Nicole Clapp
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm sure there is a lot of meaning in there somewhere but I just didn't get into it.
Ella
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, own
2.5
This book was meh. Nothing really happened. I kept flipping pages , and it didn’t pick up until the end. It was really interesting to read about a homeless mc in Seattle.
Laura
Somewhat difficult read as this reminds us that the homeless are all around us, and that not all of them fit into that neat "oh, they're mentally disturbed or drug addicts" category. Rain's life among the Winterfolk isn't what many of us would consider comfortable, but for her it's normal - until the city decides to destroy the encampment. And thus begins the real story: how does an outsider, used to a very different life and ill-equipped to navigate ours, begin to build a new life? What skills ...more
Mary Drover
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so not what I was expecting out of this book, and yet so wonderful. For some reason, I kept thinking there was going to be a supernatural element in this book. Winterfolk follows Rain, who has lived most of her life in a homeless community in the woods, and her journey of courage, hope, and pure determination when faced with the potential destruction of her community.

The thing that stood out to me the most about this story was the writing. I loved that everything was written
...more
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