About The Book

A teen navigates questions of grief, identity, and guilt in the wake of her sister’s mysterious disappearance in this breathtaking novel-in-verse from the author of 500 Words or Less—perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo.

Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.

But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.

Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.


Chapter 1: Row Row
When your older sister disappears

under the cover of night,

during a snowstorm,

leaving no tracks

and no trace,

someone should notice.

I noticed.

When she wasn’t jockeying

for the shower.

When she wasn’t sprawled

across the sectional

mindlessly scrolling through socials.

When she wasn’t being

a total bitch.

But Ariana isn’t here.

Her open bedroom door

exposes a tidy,

silent room

with a slightly rumpled duvet cover,

emanating the smell

of verbena-coconut body wash

into the hall.

I don’t know where she went.

I don’t know how long she’s gone for,

but I’m afraid that

she might never return.

Because for the past few months

I feel like Ariana has become

that one station on the car radio

that gains more static

the farther away you drive,

like she is the one

driving farther away

from something.

But I don’t know

what that something is,

and I don’t know

where she is heading.

Maybe it’s us.

Maybe she’s driving

farther away from our history,

trying to find

her own future.

Without us.

Without me.

About The Author

Photograph copyright (c) 2018 by Flor Blake

Juleah del Rosario is the author of 500 Words or Less and Turtle Under Ice. She wants you to know that she grew up outside of Seattle on the eastside. She currently lives in a book- and mountain-filled existence as a librarian in Colorado. She is Chamorro and Filipina. Most importantly, she wants you to know that you are loved and you are whole. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (March 1, 2020)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534442955
  • Ages: 12 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“Beautifully written…Will appeal to readers seeking a meaningful story.” SLJ

“A moving story about sisterhood, family, and overcoming the insurmountable mountain that is grief.” Kirkus

“Elegiac and beautiful, del Rosario’s tale plumbs the deep relationships between sisters with grace and compassion. Booklist

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