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Winter's End Kindle Edition

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Length: 432 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—In a dystopian world, an oppressive revolutionary group has taken over. Four teenagers escape the "boarding school" where they have been held since their parents were murdered 15 years earlier for being part of the Resistance. Milena and Bartolomeo become romantically involved and run away together, as do Helen and Milos, separate from the other two. Ultimately, Helen, Milena, and Bartolomeo are reunited in the capital city where they find work at a restaurant doubling as a front for the Resistance movement. However, Milos is imprisoned and sent to a training camp from which he will be forced to compete in one-on-one, barbaric arena fights to the death. As a translation from the French, this book is successful, with only occasional minor awkward moments that do not detract from the story's compelling setting, mood, and tone. Most characters are adequately drawn but some disappear and never return. For example, fierce dog-men are carefully introduced, kill a man, run off to the mountains, and vanish. Also, a few circumstances stretch belief, such as the teens riding buses without being recaptured. Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (2008) and Catching Fire (2009, both Scholastic) and John Marsden's "Tomorrow" series (Houghton) are stronger books.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In this timeless, dystopian tale of hope in dark times, four teenagers seek freedom from an oppressive society as well as the truth about their parents’ mysterious deaths. Helen, Milena, Milos, and Bartolomeo are all students at gender-segregated boarding schools established by the repressive Phalange government. After Milena and Bart secretly escape, Helen and Milos set out to find them, a search that they hope will bring them in contact with the still-active, underground resistance movement. The teens’ dangerous journeys bring terrifying enemies, unexpected allies, heartbreaking tragedy, and a discovery of both the elemental strength of the human voice and the resiliency of the human spirit. In his first novel for adolescents, French children’s book author Mourlevat deftly blends fantasy, realism, and moments of violence as he explores broad themes of freedom, repression, and redemption. Translator Bell’s visually evocative prose alternates third-person viewpoints among the diverse cast of engaging, sometimes fantastical characters, whose compelling personal stories skillfully build to a dramatic conclusion. An award winner in France, where it was first published, this absorbing, fablelike story celebrates the infinite power of love and courage to inspire others, build a community, and make a difference. Grades 9-12. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Product Details

  • File Size: 515 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (August 10, 2010)
  • Publication Date: August 10, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YJEXN4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,697 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pam G. Edwards on August 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm 15 and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Firstly, this is a very long novel. I ended up finishing it in only two days because it was so captivating. The writing style wasn't irritating, but there wasn't anything special about it either. It's the story that makes this book brilliant. ( I understand that the book was translated from french, but it was translated very well and you couldn't tell)

Anybody who likes apocalyptic or tyrannical government stories will like this. A fair warning though, later on there will be a few scenes not for the faint of heart. There is a large ammount of killing that you may not expect from a teen novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Winter's End is a young adult novel by Jean-Claude Mourlevat of France. The dramatic intricate story line follows the life of four teenage students (Helen, Milena, Milos and Bart) who have been forced into prison-like orphanages by the controlling Phalange. The Phalange keeps a tight rein on the students, allowing them only three short visits a year to a `consoler', someone who acts as a parent, to give the students a tiny glimmer of hope in order to control them further. The four conspire to run away. First Milena and Bart leave, with Helen and Milos following within days. Throughout the story the Phalange struggles to maintain their weakening hold over the country, but the Resistance is gaining in strength, numbers and spirit. Milena and Bart learn of their parents and the leading roles they played with the Resistance in an earlier rebellion against the Phalange, which we later discover is the reason the children are taken away to begin with. Inspired by their parents Bart and Milena secretly inspire the community and encourage old allies to reunite against the Phalange.

Meanwhile on their journey Milos and Helen are separated and Milos is taken captive and forced to participate in the barbaric fights held tri annually. Helen meets up with Bart and Milena with the help of secret local resistance fighters and though consumed with worry over Milos she aids in the fight as well. The four are always in each other's thoughts and the three are determined to rescue Milos before he must fight to the death. The story weaves in and out of different character's lives offering brief insights here and there. The characters grow and develop, drawing the reader in so that you find yourself worrying and cheering for them. Winter's End is a slow, deliberate, intense building novel that I would recommend to other readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Hudson on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The particularly interesting thing about this book is that it's a translation of a French young adult novel. The wording is richly descriptive - nothing could be called cliche.

Winter's End centers its plot around a dystopian society that lies in the grip of the dictorial Phalange. Four young students (Helen, Milena, Bartolomeo and Milos) escape their prison-like schools and work their way into igniting a revolt that bears odd resemblance to a mysterious revolution that happened in the past. While three of the young people are successful in their escape, the sacrificial actions of Milos - a fun-loving boy with curly brown hair - results in his imprisonment as a gladiator forced to kill his fellow prisoners for the amusement of the Phalange. While Milos holds on to the hope of being rescued, the other three are desperately searching for a chink in the Phalange armor.

It's a pretty big thing to encopampass the movements of a revolution, but Jean-Claude Mourlevat manages brilliantly. The characters are well-developed; especially Milos. The heat of the fighting spirit, the speed of capture, the horrors of a brutally bloody death, the insanity that is born of denial...all are described in rich detail that will make the scenes leap off the pages. The touch of fantasy in the characters is nicely incorporated, blending the surreal with stark reality. Altogether, it's a gripping read!

Now for the Cons:
The relationships between characters were hastily formed in some passages. There are two couples in particular who seem thrown together without any real depth added to the relationship other than a chance meeting on a hilly road.

Helen - the character who starts out the book - unfortunately takes the back seat after a couple chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura R. on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Milena, Bartolomeo (Bart), Helen, and Milos live in a dystopian future where, after a bloody rebellion resulted in the creation of the centralized government of the Phalange, they were imprisoned as children in neighboring boarding schools. Due to this unfortunate state, the teens have never really been exposed to the opposite sex.

That is until Helen and Milena happen to run into Bart and Milos on the bridge into town. The teens exchange in formation, to facilitate unauthorized letter-writing, and then move on. Only fate has other plans for Bart and Milena.

All four teens manage to escape from their boarding schools and begin a whirlwind journey across mountains, running from pursuers, and making friends in unlikely places. Not everything is as well as it seems though. There is an uprising boiling just under the surface, and these teens will make all the difference in that movement. Who will remain standing when the floodgates open?

A truly evocative story, Winter's End is sure to garner fans from the Hunger Games crowd. The characters feel so familiar and the story is filled with fantastical contortions of the human race. I received this book from Candlewick Press and couldn't be more happy that they graced me with this gift. While I know I seem to have a lot of glowing reviews of books, this one easily stands out among the many that I have read as a sleeper hit. With its inventive characters and plausible plot, one could almost believe that this was a true story. Almost. Give it a shot and pick it up on November 10th!
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