TURTLE UNDER ICE by Juleah del Rosario


Age Range: 12 - 18
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Two sisters struggle to overcome the loss of their mother.

Rowena is a star soccer player with an abundance of friends. Her older sister, Ariana, is quiet, has no talents or hobbies, and pushed away her only friend. At risk of not graduating high school and feeling like a failure, Ariana leaves in the middle of the night without telling anyone. When Row wakes up and finds her sister missing, she feels unmoored. Seeking comfort, Row invites her best friend over but is instead forced to face her feelings head-on, including opening up about the fresh misery of her stepmother’s miscarriage. Meanwhile, on a bus heading to the city, Ariana must also confront her inner demons when she runs into her former friend. With a sea of sadness separating them, the sisters must find a way to overcome their own pain and open their eyes to each other’s suffering. Told candidly in first-person free verse poems narrated by each sister, this story of siblings navigating the world without their mother is quiet and poignant. Use of plainspoken language to illustrate the intricacies of sisterhood and explore the depths of mourning makes this accessible for reluctant readers. Row and Ariana’s father and stepmother are Filipino; their late mother is cued as Chamorro.

A moving story about sisterhood, family, and overcoming the insurmountable mountain that is grief. (Verse novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5344-4295-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2019