Books Set in Really Cold Places

Posted by Sara Grochowski

[Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash]

Fans of FX’s Fargo are anxiously awaiting the new season, ready to be transported back to frozen Minnesota for more conspiracy and murder. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the show, a frigid setting in which one wrong step could be just as dangerous as any villain is undeniably fascinating. These books with glacial settings are sure to enthrall.


Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

Harper Scott is a gifted dancer committed to her plan of becoming a professional ballerina, but with her hopes for the future shattered, she runs… all the way to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Harper isn’t prepared for the extremes of living at the South Pole, where the world is covered in ice and darkness reigns. Harper could have been voted “Girl Least Likely to Love in Antarctica” in high school, but she finds purpose in the unfamiliar landscape.


The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Set in Wisconsin, The Vanishing Season shifts between the point-of-view of Maggie and the nameless ghost haunting her cellar. This contemplative mystery is made all the more chilling by serial killings taking place throughout the novel, which may or may not be related to the ghost in the cellar. While Wisconsin isn’t always cold, Midwest winters can be absolutely bitter and Anderson’s powerful, poetic descriptions will make you shiver.


At the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone have teamed up to for this first in series, which features three siblings solving the disappearance of a scientist at McMurdo Station. Real facts about life and survival in Antarctica will keep eyes frozen to the pages, as will descriptions of excursions onto the ice!


Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman

This memoir from Blair Braverman follows her to Norway, where she learns how to drive sled dogs, to Alaska, where she works a tour guide on a glacier. From being buried alive in an ice cave to evading corrupt police during a blizzard, Braverman’s stories highlight the resilience and spirit needed to survive in harsh arctic landscapes. It’s in Braverman’s descriptions of the setting and her dogs that this memoir truly comes alive!


Shackleton, Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi

Follow Ernest Shackleton’s epic Antarctic expedition in this graphic novel from Nick Bertozzi. This richly illustrated account of the successful yet harrowing journey gives readers a deep appreciation for the harsh conditions Shackleton and his men faced in 1914. Consider the pervasive nature of cold that stops you in your tracks… now imagine that cold without the modern technology that keeps it at bay! You’ll finish this graphic novel with a new appreciation for Shackleton and those like him during the time of romantic exploration.

Sara Grochowski

Sara Grochowski is an unapologetic book pusher, whether she’s in the library stacks or bookstore. She also writes for Publisher’s Weekly and speaks at conferences about great books and best practices for booksellers and librarians. You can find her on Twitter @thehidingspot and her blog, The Hiding Spot.