Title: After the Snow
Author: S.D. Crockett
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 0312641699 (Feiwel & Friends)
ISBN-13: 978-0312641696 (Feiwel & Friends)
Reviewed by: Macie
The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he’s ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government’s controlling grasp. Willo’s survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers–all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he’s always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows.
Quick & Dirty: After the Snow is difficult to get in to because of the narration style and the reason for what is happening is never fully developed.
Opening Sentence: I’m gonna sit here in my place on the hill behind the house. Waiting. And watching.
After the Snow starts when Willo sees his family being taken away in trucks, and he runs off to hide in a cave until they leave. The time period is never clearly stated, but we find out that this takes place in Europe after the weather drastically changed, leaving the world blanketed in endless snow. Willo lives out in the woods away from civilization with his father, step-mother, and lots of kids. He never feels like he fits in well, so he spends most of his time hunting and praying to his dog skull to inherit some of the dog’s qualities. The dog often speaks to him and gives him advice on what he should do. He takes the dog’s advice sometimes, but ignores it when he disagrees.
He knows he is alone now, so Willo sets out for the closest homestead where he thinks he will find answers about why his family is missing. Unfortunately, he never makes it there. Instead, Willo comes across two abandoned children in an empty house along the way. The dog tells Willo to leave them, but he comes back the next day, and takes the only living girl, Mary, with him. The world is a harsh and brutal one, but Willo knows how to hold his own against nature. When it comes to people and towns, he has no clue how to act. Willo and Mary are picked up by a caravan heading to the nearest city. The two get separated in the city, but both manage to survive for a while until they are brought back together through unusual means.
It is not until almost to the end of the book that we find out anything about the political situation going on. The town seems to be under some sort of marshal law, and the citizens are terrified. A certain book by John Blovyn that urged people to live freely in nature instead of cities has been banned, and anyone with a copy is treated like a criminal. The book with the revolutionary status is not unknown to Willo, but he never really sees the importance of it. Honestly, this portion of the book did not seem well executed. I still do not really know why the Blovyn’s book was a killing offence to own. This may be because it came through Willo’s point of view, and he did not care much about books. I would have liked to see the political side developed more. All it did was leave me confused since I didn’t know why so many people were dying.
This book is told from Willo’s point of view and in his voice. By that I mean his sentence structure and word choices are very primitive. He knows how to read, but he can hardly form a complete, correct sentence. I have to admit that it was extremely hard to get through the first time I tried to read After the Snow. The second time I tried, I was able to get used to it, but the speech patterns are very jarring and uneven.
I got to listen good, cos if someone been upstairs waiting for me, I want to hear them creaking on the floor above.
But the only creaking is just the old house moving in the cold.
And there aint no answer.
I put my hand against the wall and feel my way down the passage. I can feel every lump under the cold plaster, and I know my palm’s gonna be dusty white if I can see it. I come to the coats still hanging on the pegs, the fur all soft. But no one go out without their coat in this weather? I don’t understand why the coats still here and the people aint.
I got a funny feeling about being all alone in the house, cos my back’s to the door and it’s dark and I don’t like it with no one here.
But like the dog say, Can’t stop to think about that now.
I get to the kitchen, the same roundside smells seeping out of the dark. I tap along the beam to find the box of tinder, cos I got none in my pouch–but the box fall to the floor with a bang. It really make me jump, and I got to stay still for a while more. But no one come leaping out the shadows, so I reckon the house is safe for now.
The dog worrying me too much. Thing is dogs can’t make fire and stuff, so they got to be more careful than us. That’s the only trouble with wearing the dog skull. The spirit of that dog get right inside me sometimes, and I forget who I am. That’s what my dad say when he make me stay in the house with the others and do my reading with Magda.
I say, “Dad I can read enough.”
FTC Advisory: Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends provided me with a copy of After the Snow. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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