Jennifer Ellision's Reviews > Winter Town

Winter Town by Stephen Emond
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's review
Dec 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: arc-from-publisher, read-in-2011, reviewed, young-adult, contemporary
Read from December 02 to 05, 2011

Posted to Almost Grown-up:

It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why I liked this book so much. Because I did like it. A lot.

Part of it is certainly due the charming illustrations. Comic panels are interspersed throughout the work, a fantasy strip that Evan is working on with Lucy. There are also illustrations at the beginnings of every chapter that showcase the New England setting.

Speaking of that, maybe it’s the setting. Living somewhere where the temperatures hover in the balmy 80s still, the wintry New England snows sounded whimsical to me while I read Wintertown.

I guess it could also be the time of year. Wintertown takes place during Evan and Lucy’s Winter Break from school, when Lucy comes back to town to see her father (her parents are divorced) and there’s a holiday feeling hanging around. This is my favorite time of year, so I was definitely on the lookout for mentions of Santa and presents.

But I think it’s far more likely that the biggest reason that I liked this book was due to the characters themselves.

Though Lucy’s point of view is comes in the second half of the book, let’s look at her first. The girl’s had a tough year. Her grades are falling, her relationship with her mom sucks, and it’s affected her in obvious ways. The most obvious way is her outward appearance, including a nose ring, heavy eyeliner, and hair dye, which at first shocks Evan. It’s so different from how he saw her last. To go along with her new look, Lucy, who’s always been a little tough, now seems to have moments that are both maudlin and mean. She’s grown troubled.

Then there’s Evan. He was incredibly easy for me to relate to. He has a creative soul, but since he’s close with his family, he tends to bow to pressure from them, especially his dad. Dad wants his paper done weeks ahead of time and though Evan’s a Straight-A student, doesn’t seem to trust that he’ll take care of his homework ahead of time. Dad has Expectations. Ivy leagues. Meet a girl in college and get married. Be a doctor, a lawyer, have some kids. Evan’s never stopped to think about what he really wants.

When the two of them come together, which was no shock, they make each other question how their lives are going. Evan starts to think about what he would want to do. Lucy wonders if it’s not too late to change the path she’s going down.

I also really appreciated that Emond gave us an ending that while happy, let me still wonder a little about Lucy and Evan. Wintertown was a gem of a read.

Overall rating: 4/5. If you’re looking for a contemporary read that’s heartwarming, but also a little out of the ordinary, give Wintertown a look.

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12/02/2011 page 75
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