|After the snow|
Author: Crockett, S. D.
Fifteen-year-old Willo Blake, born after the 2059 snows that ushered in a new ice age, encounters outlaws, halfmen, and an abandoned girl as he journeys in search of his family, who mysteriously disappeared from the freezing mountain that was their home.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 150638
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 18.0 Quiz: 57132
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2012 Gr 8 Up—What if, instead of a warmer future, "every thing got proper cold"? What if "the seas stopped working," and those who didn't move to the crowded, smelly cities approved by the government became "stealers" and "stragglers" and lived off the grid? Russia and China are big influences in this new order, and the yuan is the preferred currency. Willo's family are stragglers, living in the frigid mountains of Wales. Willo has a talent for hunting and helps his father turn hides into finely crafted coats, boots, and gloves. Cat and dog make the finest furs, though Willo catches mostly rabbits. When he returns from a hunt to find the cabin deserted, he knows something bad has happened. He packs a sled with supplies and heads off to find his family. His first encounter is with Mary, almost starving, whose father is a pony man, also missing. Willo intends to take Mary only as far as the power lines, where she can be picked up by a snow truck, but events tumble both teens onto a transport into the city. The bones of this story are not new: civilization trying to reform after human-caused catastrophe. Some people try to make a better world, and others ask only what's in it for them. What elevates Snow is the voice Crockett uses to tell the tale. Willo's narration, with misspellings and inventive phrasings, is a voice we have not heard before. Graphic violence occurs in several places, but Crockett's cold, brutal world is not without a few warm rooms where travelers can rest and prepare for the next challenge.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2012 People barely remember the time before the new Ice Age. Now, punishing snow is a year-round occurrence, and 15-year-old Willo and his family scrape out a living in the wilderness, trapping animals for skins that they can then sell to what remains of the government. One day Willo’s family vanishes, and so he starts toward the violent, miserable, beggar-filled city to find them. Along the way he runs across a freezing little girl and decides to save her—despite the advice of “the dog,” an imaginary companion who offers cold, survivalist advice from the dog skull Willo keeps lashed to his hat. At its best, this bleak debut recalls Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008) and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), with the brave young narrator navigating the horrors of a wasted world in broken English (“she look like a worm do”). There is a staginess to the ending that feels incongruous with the naturalistic style of the rest of the book, but nevertheless this marks Crockett as a writer to watch. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2012 Willo’s father can still remember what life was like in Great Britain before the country entered a new ice age, but for fifteen-year-old Willo, a life in the snow-blanketed forest scrounging for food and hiding from a repressive government is all he’s ever known. When his father and the rest of his family mysteriously disappear, Willo leaves the scant safety of home to search for them. Against his better judgment, he saves an abandoned girl he encounters along the way, and together they find their way into the city, in which a long-dormant resistance movement is preparing for a final desperate exodus. Willo’s journey reveals the extent to which human society, torn between altruism and sociopathic self-interest, has descended into animalistic brutality. Crockett vividly evokes the bleakness and desperation of an endless winter, but she is less successful at investing readers in Willo as a protagonist. It’s not clear if Willo, with his strange verb tenses and stream-of-consciousness narration, is an emblem of society’s deteriorating literacy or hampered by a disability; his confusion amplifies the emotional distance between reader and story, lessening the impact of the identity-reveal at the climax. The atmosphere of horror and fatalism is effective, however, recalling Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go (BCCB 10/08) in its fascination with the underbelly of human nature; readers interested in exploring those themes a bit closer to home may find Willo’s travails absorbing. CG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.