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Turtle Under Ice

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  145 reviews
A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo.

Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and h
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Simon Pulse
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mars Nope. Just a whole wholly sisterly, friendly love.

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  556 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5 Stars

"We have the capacity to be cruel, if we let the pain consume us."

This book tackles themes such as grief, identity and also the overcoming of grief after a tragedy. It also talks about siblings relationships and how sometimes it's difficult to understand the people who are the closest to you. I quite enjoyed this read, but I think that there were some unresolved issues that I would have liked to see more of.
Claude's Bookzone
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
CW: Loss of mother, miscarriage.

This story moved quite slowly and considering that it's a verse novel, that's really saying something. That being said I enjoyed the heartfelt tone and the portrayal of two sisters managing their grief in the aftermath of two painful losses. I understand the stresses of being the eldest sibling and the how the mantle of responsibility can weigh quite heavily during family emergencies. The ending felt believable and satisfying.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
I didn't expect this book to sucker punch me in the gut with its poignant portrayal of grief and sisterhood, but alas, here I am, gut-punched.

- Follows Row and Ariana, two Filipino-Chamarro-American sisters who are still reeling from the loss of their mother six years ago. When Ariana disappears, the story explores both sister's perspectives and the ways they grapple with grief.
- This book is written in verse, and I loved it. Some of the passages contained so much... raw emotion that I had to pa
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Told over the course of a single day, Turtles Under Ice is a lyrical novel about two sisters coping with grief, new and old. While I enjoyed parts of it, most of the book dragged and I found myself wishing that up to the art show was less than 20 parts, and what they did after was told after it. Because I was seriously bloody bored.

I found it difficult to understand Ariana's obsession with her mother's death, even 6+ years later. I'm no stranger to grief, I lost my own mother at 16. I found it d
I liked the dual perspectives of each grieving sister. I think, however, that the resolution at the end of this novella-length story was a little too quick.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I finished Turtle Under Ice in a few hours. I couldn't stop reading. Sure it's in verse which certainly makes it easy. However, Turtle Under Ice is lyrical, poignant, and moving. This dual POV verse novel is stunning. It's a lyrical portrayal of grief, sisterhood, and moving on. Turtle Under Ice is obviously lyrical, but it's also haunting. Like the chilling breeze in a winter forest
Zoë ☆
This was such a beautiful story about grief and family. I loved the writing ✨
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Once again, in the middle of a pandemic, I'm reading a book about death. This one also focuses on the bonds of sisterhood and the need for connection. Oh, and it's a novel-in-verse. This is the second book I've read by Juleah del Rosario; she does an excellent job in capturing the older teen world. ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .

I confess that every time I see this cover, I can only see that this girl is stabbing herself in the eye with ice. And then my mind goes to her stabbing herself with a turtle, and honestly none of this tells you anything about the book whatsoever, but I needed to get this off my chest and/or find someone to commiserate.

What I Liked:

Obviously family is a huge focus of this book. 
Samantha (WLABB)
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse, ya, contemporary
These two young women have been soaking in their grief since their mother's death. For years, Rowena's grief fueled her soccer prowess, and Ariana retreated, more and more, within herself. Fresh off another loss, Ariana disappears, in the middle of the night. The story alternated between both Ariana and Rowena as they work through their grief and loss. I think I shed a tear or two almost every time we flipped back to Ariana. Her pain was palpable, and my heart really ached for her. The whole tim ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A quick read (the story is told in verse) but not an easy one. This book goes back and forth between two sisters who are still dealing with the unexpected death of their mother six years early. The prose is lovely and there were quite a few paragraphs that punched me right in the heart so 5 stars for that. However because this book takes place in one day I felt like everything happened too fast and the happy resolution of the relationship between Row and Ariana didn't feel long lasting.
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Narrator: 4 stars 🌟

*listened via Overdrive app *
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
"I am a human with grief. Just like we all will be someday. Because there is only one universal truth in the world.

That we and everyone around us will someday die, and grief is all that remains in the aftermath."

Turtle Under Ice is a story about two sisters who are trying to move on six years after the loss their mother. Rowena, a soccer star, basically wants life to stay the same and struggles to deal with the fact that it will inevitably change. Ariana, the sister who was with her mom when sh

Ariana has disappeared. Her sister Row is first to discover this, but she can’t find any clues as to where she might be. Told in two voices in verse, this is a heart-felt story about grief and the ways it can manifest and emerge so differently for everyone.

When Row and Ariana’s stepmother loses her 12-week pregnancy, Ariana spirals into grief as the wounds of losing her mother six years prior -- and being the person with her as she died. Row, too, finds sadness welling up inside her again, but s
Monica (Tomes Project)
Feb 15, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
dnf @ p. 45

Sadly, this one really didn't work for me. The premise is very appealing to me, which is why I requested a review copy, it's exploring grief and guilt and the disappearance of our main character's sister. But, it's written in dual perspective and both perspectives are written in verse, and for me that was kind of the breaking point of this story for me. The stylistic differences between the two sisters was not significant enough for me to easily grasp onto which sister was experiencin
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! I’ll post a review shortly in advance of publication!

***Updated on 3/2/20 in accordance with publication...

3.75 stars

This is a moving verse novel written from the perspectives of two sisters, both of whom are dealing with the aftermath of their mother's death, father's remarriage, and another source of more recent familial loss.

I wish I had gotten to know the characters a bit better, but I did enjoy learning about their relationship, their ind
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
2.5 Stars

Sad to say but this book is not going to be memorable for me. It wasn’t terrible but it was great either...
There was so much about this book that was done brilliantly! I love the way this book looks at grief, specifically how it shows that people grieve very differently. There are the two sisters, Ariana and Row, and they both have very different experiences of grief. There are also others in the book who are grieving and they process their grief different from the two protagonists.

I also loved the way sisterhood was portrayed. Ariana's feelings of not being enough of a sister, of feeling like she s
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 12-and-13
Turtle Under Ice is such a truly moving story.

Dealing with family, friendship, identity, and the many different ways of grief, Turtle Under Ice is the type of in verse book that you know couldn't possibly be told any other way. It's heavy and poetic and sad and hopeful and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants an introspective look into what it means to lose someone and how/why/when it can be okay again to move on.

It's also fairly short so if you're trying to get into books in verse (which you al
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
We follow two sisters, the one who ran away and the one who was left behind. Years ago, they were also both inadvertently left behind by their mother, who died of a heart attack in a Starbucks. One thing to remember: things are not always as they seem.

Unfortunately the book spans only a single day. I think I would have liked to see more to really understand the emotional progressions of Rowena and Ariana.
Left without words...

So it’s been over a day since I’ve finished this and I have no idea what to say! The characters, the development, the rawness of this all.

Depressing as heck and hard to read, but so worth it by the end. ❤️🧊🐢
Laura Gardner
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this novel in verse!
Rowena and Ariana are sisters of Filipino heritage who are both deeply affected by the loss of their mother years ago and their stepmother’s recent miscarriage. The sisters are very different; Row is a talented soccer player with tons of friends and Ariana is quiet to the point of nearly being invisible and without hobbies or interests. One snowy morning, Row wakes to find her sister gone. Ariana has left their town on a bus to the city with an unknown desti
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: stand-alone

“The thing about death is that you can never fight it.
Be it bacterial or viral,
addiction or cancer, natural causes or accidents,
something is destined to kill us.
Because in the natural order of things, dying happens.”

“But without the lights turned on,
does anyone even notice
that we are broken?”

“I’m just here. The product of a failed backstory.
In German there is a word for experience, Erlebnis,
which comes from the verb erleben,
and translates as living through something.
In English, we have no s
Amy Layton
This was a beautiful novel in verse, perfect for fans of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling.  Told through both Row and Ariana's perspectives, we are allowed to see the different ways in which these girls still grieve for their mother six years after her death, and grieve for the little half-sister that they never had the chance to meet.  Over the span of just two days, Row's life seems to explode: she can't find anyone to play soccer with her (her only coping mechanism), her sister has gone missi ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: advanced-copy
Juleah del Rosario takes the reader through the different but similar ways two sisters deal with the passing of their mother. Ariana struggles with trying to let go of her grief, becoming the perfect role model for her younger sister, and finding her own place in a world so seemingly disconnected from personal emotion. Row struggles to piece together her broken family, and to prove to herself that she's more than just a soccer player.

Things I loved:
- Characterization: They way in which both ch
Taylor (TaysInfiniteThoughts)
Arianna is failing school, and may not graduate. She hasn’t told anyone and she has one last chance to get some extra credit so she can graduate. She’s doesn’t want anyone to know that she hasn’t done anything since her mother died.

Row is an amazing soccer player. It’s her escape of sorts. When Row wakes to find Arianna missing, she feels abandoned. She and Arianna were supposed to be there for each other, always.

Lyrically written, Turtle Under Ice a story about two sisters who are still grievin
This is an emotional punch to the throat and I enjoyed every second of it. I love a goo sibling story, and it's an incredible look at how two people who experience the same loss can grieve so differently. Stunning verse. ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Rowena and Ariana are very close sisters, and for years afterwards, they each harbor grief from their mother's death in their own different ways. When their stepmother has a miscarriage, these emotions flare back to life. While Rowena contemplates at home, Ariana is doing the same while she makes her way through endless snow to hang up a precious painting at an exhibit. Turtle Under Ice is quiet yet expressive, accurately portraying that there is no one way to live through loss, and that it's al ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
tw: loss of a loved one, miscarriage, grief and trauma

Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.

But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When R
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. TURTLE UNDER ICE reminds me a bit of WE ARE OKAY -- it's a portrait of grief that shifts between the past and the present, revealing bit by bit the ways the characters' lives have been shaped by that grief. I love the female relationships (sisters, mothers, step-mothers, friends, best friends) and how the sparse verse really gets at the emotional core of the story. I do wish the end didn't feel quite so didactic and rushed, but overall this is beautiful. ...more
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47 likes · 13 comments
“Maybe hope is like a turtle under ice
breathing through its shell,
through its biochemistry, still alive.

Maybe hope waits for spring to come, for the ice to thaw
for the weight of the pond that encapsulates us to melt into nothing.

But maybe we are not meant to wait for springtime.
Maybe, instead, we are meant
to break the ice
and be free."
“There was no right time for my mother to die,
because when someone we loves dies,
it will always be untimely"
More quotes…