The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication date: 09 October 2018
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Page count: 256 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is a spoiler-free review
There’s nothing better than an exceptionally cosy and atmospheric novel, and The Way Past Winter is exactly that. I absolutely loved Hargraves’ debut novel, The Girl of Ink and Stars, and was so looking forward to reading another middle grade adventure from her, and The Way Past Winter did not disappoint.
Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.
I love books that suit a chilly winter’s night — there’s nothing more cosy that curling up under a pile of blankets and reading a good book. Hargrave manages to perfectly capture the deep cold of winter, but also the loneliness, hopelessness, and danger that the deep snow can bring — the everlasting winter of this world truly has power. As Mila pursues her brother across the frozen landscape, her adventure is fraught with the danger of winter, however the book incorporates the beauty of winter as well. In this way it felt a lot like The Bear and the Nightingale, but safer and with fewer horrifying consequences for a headstrong girl.
The adventure is the highlight of the story, and I loved reading through Mila’s journey with her family. This book has such incredibly strong themes of sisterhood and family bonds. Mila herself is such a lovable, strong character, and I really enjoyed the fact that although she and her sisters do bicker, they have such a strong relationship. If you like the strong girls in Hargraves’ other books, you’ll absolutely love Mila and her sisters too.
If you’re looking for a beautifully atmospheric middle grade book that you can read in a single winter’s night, look no further than The Way Past Winter.
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Have you read The Way Past Winter? What did you think? Is it in your TBR? Let me know!