Skip to main content

Hannah's Winter

Hannah's Winter by Kierin  Meehan was recommended to me by Charlotte of Charlotte's Library.  Thanks Charlotte! I might otherwise never known of its existence, which would have been incredibly sad. I really liked this book, but acknowledge it may not be for the enjoyment of everyone. It is a book that, in the hands of the right reader, will work magic. I happened to be one of those readers.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Hannah would much rather be back in Australia, starting high school with her friends. But Japan turns out to be nothing like she d imagined, and when Hannah and her new friend Miki find an ancient message in the stationery shop, they are drawn into solving a mysterious riddle. Why do the beans go berserk during the bean-throwing festival? Who is the evil-eyed woman at Sarumaru Shrine? Why is Hannah attacked by flying donuts? Is the ocean boy really trying to tell her something? 

Hannah's Winter is a slow journey. Much of the book is spent getting to know the small Japanese city she is now calling home, a mix of historic and modern. It is only by the time we know Hannah, her companions, and the city well that the fantastic elements are introduced. Spirits are unsettled and it seems Hannah is the one who can settle them. Her quest takes her to many interesting places and she meets many interesting people. Hannah and her friends, Miki and Hiro, are definitely the most interesting. I was struck by how genuine Hannah's voice was. She sounds exactly like a smart 12 year old., and equal combination of assured opinions and fear of the unknown. (Her descriptions and opinion of her mother are particularly funny, and while she mocks her greatly she also loves her well.) 


Honestly though  I think my favorite part of this book might be its utter lack of Americaness. Yes, it is about a foreigner in Japan, but not an American one. She is Australian and she speaks fluent Japanese. She learned it at school. One interesting insight I have gained reading all the Australian authors I have been reading of late is that there are a lot of similarities between American and Australian mindsets, culture, and worldviews. There is an overwhelming an interesting contrast too though. The contrast that comes from a context half a world away. It's fascinating and it works favorably for this book. Readers will gain an interesting look at a foreign country and culture, but it never seems too foreign because for Hannah it's not. 


If you are interested in books about other places and people or books with modern fantasy, and don't mind slow journeys, I highly recommend this. I would say that despite the description's mention that Hannah will be starting high school this is definitely a MG book. That means something different in Australia than in the US. In Australia, depending on where you live, HS starts in year 7 or 8. Hannah  is only 12.


Note on Content: Some religious parents might find the spiritual elements of this book concerning. It does open the door for interesting discussions on the belief systems of different people in cultures, but you should know this element is there.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

YA Book GIVEAWAY!!!

On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.