BLIZZARD’S WAKE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Age Range: 12 - 14
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Kate Sterling is alone in her house as the great blizzard of 1941 rages around her. Her father, Doc, and her brother Jesse are stranded in their car—snowbound. Zeke Dexter, the convict who killed Kate’s mother, has just gotten out of prison, and is out there somewhere walking in the storm. Kate has dreamed of Zeke’s return and of the revenge she will exact. Wandering blindly and nearly dead, Zeke happens to bump into Doc Sterling’s car, now almost drifted over. And Kate, determined to act, ties a clothesline around her waist, tethers herself to a fence, goes out exploring, and happens to find the car. The convergence of Kate, Zeke, and the worst blizzard in anyone’s memory makes for a good, well-plotted story, in spite of the coincidences that make it all work. Kate’s heroic efforts to save her father and brother result in the unexpected: her mother’s killer stranded in her own house. And when Zeke is injured chopping wood out back, Kate ends up helping nurse him back to health. Kate must come to terms with Zeke as a person and with her hatred as a debilitating emotion. With WWII in the background, the blizzard’s ravages, and the storms in the lives of the characters, this becomes a story about forgiveness and facing up to the forces in one’s life. Kate realizes she can stay true to her mother’s memory, be civil to Zeke, and not be consumed by hatred. A nice addition to this Newbery winner’s body of work. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-85220-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002


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