After the Snow
By S.D. Crockett
Expected publication March 27, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
What would your life be like if you were living in the new Ice Age? It might look something like Willo's - a teenager who lives with his father as a "straggler" - someone who chooses to live in the wilderness rather than the city. But when Willo returns one day to find his family missing, he's going to have to figure out how to survive on his own. And his decisions are made even more complicated when he discovers a young girl, nearly starving to death, whose family is also gone...
I picked this book up at Midwinter, where the publisher was giving it some good praise. I had high hopes for this one - I like survival stories and thought the idea of a new Ice Age was definitely something new in YA. Unfortunately, this book just did not work for me. In fact, this was a book I actually contemplated giving up on. I didn't, but I think I should have. Like I said, this book has a really interesting concept - global warming was, in fact, actually a real thing and now the Earth is living in a new Ice Age. However, for such an interesting concept, this is an incredibly boring book. It is not really the survival story I thought it was. For me, this reads like a book about a mentally ill person and I definitely don't think that was Crockett's intention. And, while I can understand why Willo talks and behaves the way he does, it doesn't make me like him as a character. As a matter of fact, I found him incredibly irritating and naive and I really didn't care to find out what happened to him. Like I said, this doesn't really read like a survival story - Willo doesn't ever seem to actually struggle all that much. I guess that just means he was prepared, but it doesn't make for a compelling read. I was a little more intrigued when they arrived in the city, but I quickly lost interest again as the pacing of the novel deteriorated (Willo's journey to the city takes the whole of part one but then he spends several months with the old couple and it passes in a matter of paragraphs). Some of the more interesting storylines were never fully explored (why is China seen as holding the key to ending the Ice Age? what happened to Willo's sister, who had gone to live with evil old Geraint? what is the deal with Dog?) and the big surprise was, in my opinion, not much of a surprise. I don't generally have an issue with novels written in dialect (see my upcoming review of The Knife of Never Letting Go) but this was painful to read. It just made Willo an even less likable character for me. I wanted so much more from this novel; it just didn't deliver for me.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.