Philomel Books, $16.99, 242 pages
Jane Yolen, prolific and beloved children’s author returns with Snow in Summer, a version of Snow White set in 1930’s Appalachia. The book tells the story from the perspective of Snow in Summer, a child who lives with her father after the death of her mother. All is well in her life until her father re-marries, and Summer’s new stepmother gradually cuts her off from the support figures in her life, as well as subjecting her to escalating abuse.
The updated fairy tale is an eternally popular trend in children’s literature, and Yolen’s adaptation is one of the best that I’ve read. She manages to retain the framework of the original story, while making her new setting seem true and resonant as well. She also manages to manipulate the major events of the story so that they fit in with the story, and don’t stick out as obviously imported elements. This book is probably best for a tween audience. Although the heroine starts out as an 8 year old, some parts of this book are probably a little on the scary side for a reader that young. Adult readers may notice a lack of depth in some of the characters, but the book is enjoyable nevertheless.