Winter Classics: Novels for Teens
Jan 17, 2012
During the long, cold winter nights of this time of year, encourage your teen to escape into the world of winter-themed literature. Whether it means discovering a time-tested classic or enjoying a modern novel, your teen may relate to the characters enduring the snow and frigid temperatures. Described here are ten classic and contemporary novels set in winter.
1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
If you're seeking a novel that is inescapably winter-themed, then look no further than one set in a Soviet prison camp where the temperature drops more than 40 degrees below zero. This brief novel describes the brutal conditions that prisoners faced in the Stalin era. More than a fictionalization of a dark period in human history, this novel is a compelling tale of the irrepressible human spirit.
2. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Part of the Little House on the Prairie series, The Long Winter is a fictionalized version of the events of the winter of 1880-81 in the Dakota Territory. The Ingalls family faces a blizzard, isolation, a food shortage and other perils, yet they still find a way to celebrate Christmas.
3. Snow Bound by Harry Mazer
In order to get back at his parents, teenager Tony Laporte runs away in his mother's Plymouth. He picks up a hitchhiking girl named Cindy Reichert along the way. When a massive snowstorm hits, they crash far from the highway and must find a way to work together to survive.
4. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Wharton's 1911 classic follows Ethan Frome, his wife Zeena and her young cousin Mattie. Ethan and Zeena are in a loveless marriage, which is made worse when Ethan falls in love with Mattie. Set against a harsh New England winter, the weather in Ethan Frome is almost a character itself, representing the bleak nature of Ethan's situation.
5. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Buck is a domesticated dog living an ordinary life until he's sent off to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush to serve as a sled dog. Once there, his wilder instincts return and he grows more ferocious. Buck's transformation enables him to survive in the harsh wilderness.
6. Trapped by Michael Northrop
When a brutal blizzard hits teenager Scotty Weem's New England town, he and several classmates get trapped in their school. As time passes, the situation becomes increasingly dire; the students must face worsening cold and a lack of food and water. This gripping page-turner will make readers question how they'd respond, and if they could survive.
7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
While it's been adapted for TV shows, cartoons, movies and more, A Christmas Carol began as a novella in 1843. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by a series of ghosts on the night before Christmas. Though the story will be familiar to most readers, the details and narrative style that Dickens offers make it a compelling read.
8. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
This 1994 novel, which has found its way into many high school English classes, centers around the murder of a well-known Washington fisherman during the 1950s. The man accused of the murder is Japanese American, which complicates the case because anti-Japanese sentiment was strong in the years following World War II. While the trial builds steam, a large snowstorm engulfs the community.
9. Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen
Brian's Winter is part of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet series, which follows teenager Brian Robeson. In this book, Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness following a plane accident. In order to survive, he must build a shelter, avoid a bear and find his way to help.
10. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Pasternak's epic novel describes the Russian Revolution through the eyes of the title character, who is both a physician and a poet. Though it's dense with characters and historical events, the tale of Zhivago and Lara, the woman he loves, is at its core.
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