Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard


Winter Loon
Title : Winter Loon
Author :
Rating :
Language : English
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 325

A haunting debut novel about family and sacrifice, Winter Loon reminds us of how great a burden the past can be, the toll it exacts, and the freedom that comes from letting it go.Abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in a frozen Minnesota lake, fifteen year old Wes Ballot is stranded with coldhearted grandparents and holed up in his mother s old bedroom surrounded by her remnants and memories As the wait for his father stretches unforgivably into months, a local girl, whose own mother died a brutal death, captures his heart and imagination, reminding Wes that hope always floats to the surface.When buried truths come to light in the spring thaw, wounds are exposed and violence erupts, forcing Wes to embark on a search for his missing father, the truth about his mother, and a future he must claim for himself a quest that begins back at that frozen lake.A powerful, page turning coming of age story, Winter Loon captures the resilience of a boy determined to become a worthy man by confronting family demons, clawing his way out of the darkness, and forging a life from the shambles of a broken past.


Winter Loon Reviews


  • Katie B

    This was such a heartbreaking story and one in which you feel so emotionally invested in the main character Fifteen year old Wes Ballot is living with his alcoholic parents in Minnesota when his mother drowns in a lake His father sends Wes to temporarily live with his grandparents who aren t exactly warm and welcoming As Wes waits for his father to return, he meets a girl who is also dealing with the death of a parent This is the story of a boy who will learn long buried secrets about his fa This was such a heartbreaking story and one in which you feel so emotionally invested in the main character Fifteen year old Wes Ballot is living with his alcoholic parents in Minnesota when his mother drowns in a lake His father sends Wes to temporarily live with his grandparents who aren t exactly warm and welcoming As Wes waits for his father to return, he meets a girl who is also dealing with the death of a parent This is the story of a boy who will learn long buried secrets about his family history and will have to forge his own path in life Even though this book has such a sadness to it, in some ways it is uplifting as you watch this young boy deal with the crappy hand he was dealt and slowly develop into a man While you are reading you just feel protective of him and want to shelter him from any pain or hurt Haunting is a good word to describe the story as so many things about his family s past that he has no control over are affecting him in the present And that s why Wes is a character to root for because in a way he s having to fight other people s demons and how could you not want him to find happiness Definitely recommend as a good coming of age story This is one of the better Kindle First selections I have picked in recent months

  • Michelle Hoover

    This is a beauty of a page turner, dreamy, disquieting, and uncompromising to the end Against the tide of the wandering heart, the novel tells us, only love can offer us a place to rest and only if we let it.

  • Lissa Franz

    Susan Bernhard s WINTER LOON is a gorgeously lyrical coming of age ballad a soul reckoning exploration of familial ties and the hard fight to make your life your own Wes Ballot s childhood ends when he witnesses a tragedy Forced into the hard, mean life of his grandparents, waiting for his father to rescue him a drifter whose definition of manhood Wes wrestles with throughout the novel Wes must confront his mother s secrets Wes casts about for role models in this tough world and finds it in t Susan Bernhard s WINTER LOON is a gorgeously lyrical coming of age ballad a soul reckoning exploration of familial ties and the hard fight to make your life your own Wes Ballot s childhood ends when he witnesses a tragedy Forced into the hard, mean life of his grandparents, waiting for his father to rescue him a drifter whose definition of manhood Wes wrestles with throughout the novel Wes must confront his mother s secrets Wes casts about for role models in this tough world and finds it in the Hightowers, a family he loves nearly as much as their adopted daughter Jolene It is here he learns love and loyalty Bernhard is deft with the trials and alienation of loneliness She writes beautifully of hardscrabble lives, and with perfect pitch about adolescence, resilience in the face of tragedy, and what it means to transcend a legacy and emerge with an honest, fearless, independent life A soaring and luminous debut

  • Emilie

    This book is beautiful The prose is elegant and, though it took me a moment to become fully immersed in the story, the characters are rich and the setting tangible It s a story of loss and finding and wrought with love and comfort This books wraps around you and I can t wait for it to be released and shared with the world.

  • Crystal King

    Winter Loon is a gorgeous, emotionally wrought, coming of age story about a young boy who watches his mother drown and then must endure the aftermath of her death a father who abandons him, moving in with his abusive grandparents and falling in love with the beautiful Jolene The novel is heart wrenching, gritty, and at times troubling, but one thing that you cannot escape is how you will feel about young Wes Ballot as he tries to figure out his new place in the world This is a brilliant debut Winter Loon is a gorgeous, emotionally wrought, coming of age story about a young boy who watches his mother drown and then must endure the aftermath of her death a father who abandons him, moving in with his abusive grandparents and falling in love with the beautiful Jolene The novel is heart wrenching, gritty, and at times troubling, but one thing that you cannot escape is how you will feel about young Wes Ballot as he tries to figure out his new place in the world This is a brilliant debut and I can t wait to see where Bernhard will take her readers next

  • Rachel

    Stunning Heartbreaking Couldn t put it down.

  • Michele Ferrari

    A haunting coming of age story about a boy who struggles to move past the pain and tragedies of his parents and grandparents to become his own person Wes is a character who you grow to love and want to protect as he confronts the challenges of adolescence in the shadow of his mother s death and violent life Susan Bernhard is one of those rare writers who is able to use language in completely unique and lyrical ways while keeping the story in the voice of her young narrator A complex story bea A haunting coming of age story about a boy who struggles to move past the pain and tragedies of his parents and grandparents to become his own person Wes is a character who you grow to love and want to protect as he confronts the challenges of adolescence in the shadow of his mother s death and violent life Susan Bernhard is one of those rare writers who is able to use language in completely unique and lyrical ways while keeping the story in the voice of her young narrator A complex story beautifully told

  • HollySykes

    Winter Loon doesn t read like a debut novel Bernhard writes with incredible beauty that leaves you breathless and shivering Wes Ballot, after witnessing his mothers death, is shunted through his family to land with his cruel and horrifying grandparents They are easy to dispose at first until their own horrific and terrible lives come to light Bernhard explores the bitterness a person can harbor in their lives and how one people let it lash out on others in the world and some limp on, deter Winter Loon doesn t read like a debut novel Bernhard writes with incredible beauty that leaves you breathless and shivering Wes Ballot, after witnessing his mothers death, is shunted through his family to land with his cruel and horrifying grandparents They are easy to dispose at first until their own horrific and terrible lives come to light Bernhard explores the bitterness a person can harbor in their lives and how one people let it lash out on others in the world and some limp on, determined not to become the people that wounded them In the age of noisy adventure novels and sweeping political metaphors, Bernhard reminds us that sometimes, sometimes people s lives are just quietly shitty, with no conspiracy or reason, without any real institution that can be boycotted or revolution that can be founded Wes story stands as a testament to making a choice between allowing the bitter cycles of family and history swallow you and fighting the current, refusing to let them drag you in with them Throughout the novel, I kept hoping for good things to come to Wes, for his life to have beautiful moments of stillness and rest despite the constant unearthing of painful memories and truths that revealed not only the motives of those he was with, but also of those he d lost Winter Loon is a novel of untangling and of deciding when to reach for the scissors Sometimes it hurts to be reminded that someday, everything will be ok I loved reading this book and winning quiet battles in the depth of winter in Minnesota

  • Kathy

    Compelling, beautiful, coming of age novel I was so moved by Wes s story.

  • Katherine Sherbrooke

    If you love the intersection of gorgeous writing, characters you won t forget and a story that will keep the pages turning, this book is for you You will be transported from the moment you start reading to a world that is likely quite different from your own, and yet resonates with all the most important questions about love loss, who we belong to and when we choose to let go Absolutely loved it