The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

Published: 5 January 2021

Genres: Children’s Literature, Young Adult Fiction, Bildungsroman*, Contemporary fiction

* Bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story

Available as: Audiobook, E-book, Paperback, Hardcover


As an audiobook, The Sea in Winter consists of 43 tracks narrated by Kimberly Woods with a total length of four hours and 25 minutes. The story follows the journey of Maisie Cannon in her seventh grade year after her knee accident delays her dream of pursuing ballet and she realizes that she has no friends outside of ballet. After being in rehabilitation therapy for a while, Maisie participates in a midwinter trip with her family. On this trip, her frustrations explode and she learns the importance of communicating how she is feeling.


“It will hurt. Making your way through these crossroads will be painful and scary and unpredictable. There will be times when it will feel like the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do and there will be times when you feel unsure your ability to handle it…but you can and you will because you must.” – Mom

I would recommend this text to children and young adults who are feeling the pressure of change. The quote above is from the climax of the story and encapsulates how hard it can be to remain resilient when one is going through difficult times of change. The three elements that stood out to me were word choice, the references to real-life events, and the narrator’s voice. First, I enjoyed the word choice in the prompts given by the teacher at the beginning and the end of the text because they acted like pathetic fallacy, reflecting what the character was needing in the moment while also allowing the reader to learn more about the main character through her own writing. Second, Maisie’s parents are of Indigenous backgrounds. The text discusses the history of Maisie’s mother’s community and references real-life events adding more realism to the text. I found it relatable that the main character was learning about the history of their family although this identity might not one that they necessarily identify with. Therefore, I think this text can speak to children and young adults that might not have been raised in a culture or generation with the same values as their parents and can have trouble recognizing that culture as one of their social identities. Lastly, I enjoyed the narration. It had slight quivering quality that captured the main character’s feelings of being on edge, being afraid of losing opportunities, and struggling to communicate with friends and family. However, I would have liked to hear more vocal variation when characters besides Maisie and her brother were speaking.

Overall Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌘

3.25 – Made me tear up a little

Ending: 🌕🌕🌕 🌗- 3.5/5

Plot: 🌕🌕🌕- 3/5

World-building: 🌕🌕🌕 – 3/5

Characters: 🌕🌕🌕🌗- 3.5/5

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