Disclaimer: The author and I share a publisher, and I helped proofread this novel before publication.
If I had not been reading this novel on an expensive electronic device, I’d have thrown it across the room when I got to the ending. But not because it was a bad book. On the contrary, this book was such a fun adventure that the cliffhanger ending made me want to lose my mind. I did, however, accost the author to find out whether a sequel was forthcoming. Good news! One is definitely in the works.
Because of the way schedules work in the publishing world, I read Snowed during the heat of summer. However, Alexander’s words transported me to the holiday season with little effort. I follow the author on social media, so I was spoiled a bit for this novel based on hints she’d provided on research she did for this story. But rather than being any sort of let-down, any predictions that I made and the big reveals in the book were a ton of fun to reach.
One of my favorite things about this book was the nontraditional setting. Most “California” books take place in such locales as hip San Francisco or sunny Los Angeles, familiar from so much of popular culture. Temperate, conservative northern California is a departure from the norm. But what I appreciate the most is that Alexander doesn’t set the novel here just for something different. The setting becomes a character in itself regarding both the winter weather and the mindset of the people around the main character, Charity Jones. Points should also be given for a diverse main character, because once again, there’s no feeling that the author made this decision just to be different. Charity’s entire character has been shaped by this aspect of her being, but it always comes off as realistic rather than an insertion of authorial voice.
As a point of view character, Charity drew me in immediately. One of the things I liked best about her was that she was the hero of her own story but still maintained some flaws that made her a realistic character. She gets a little preachy about things she’s passionate about, but it’s a good example of what makes her a whole person rather than a plastic, predictable YA fantasy heroine.
At times, the text message conversations between characters felt a little contrived or cliché because of the abbreviated language used. However, I may have felt this way due to my limited experience with or exposure to the young adult genre, and with teenagers in general. More importantly, the friendships and other relationships between the teenage characters rang very true, and included depth not often attributed to characters who are not yet adults.
Overall, this was a great fantasy novel that features a villain not often explored in speculative fiction, either adult or YA. The modern ways in which the villain is fought are imaginative and delightfully unexpected.
Currently reading: The Purple Heart Detective Agency by Rock Neelly (80%)
NaNoWriMo progress: 0/30k words (Cut me some slack, I wrote this review before the month even started!)