Pub. Date: 2nd February 2012 (UK) 27th March 2012 (US)
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (UK) Feiwel & Friends (US)
Pages: 320 (UK) 304 (US)
Readership: Young adult
Event: Dystopian February
After the Snow is a perfect story for those who enjoyed the Chaos Walking trilogy or Blood Red Road. There must be something about desolate, climate change-affected worlds that gives rise to colourful dialects (at least, in novels written by British authors!).
“The dog gonna tell me what to do. The dog gonna help me. The house look proper empty – don’t it dog?”
Willo is a 15-year-old boy surviving the new ice age in Britain. It’s everyone’s dream to head East, to China, where there’s the belief that the snow will melt and the sun will warm once again. But for now, Willo’s just trying to live. His family has been taken by the government – for what purpose, he doesn’t know. He’s content hunting alone until he comes across a sickly, dying young girl and her brother. The ‘dog’ inside his head is telling him to walk away; he doesn’t need anyone bringing him down. Willo’s torn between looking out for only himself or the children too. The choice he makes will lead him to discover his true place in this tough, frozen world.
I attended the After the Snow book launch and was blown away by the Foyles window display, created mostly by the author herself. It was bitterly cold outside and so the publication of After the Snow had perfect timing. It portrays, I think, a realistic picture of what living in post-apocalyptic – many, many people died before Willo’s time – Britain may look like. I loved that it was set in Wales because it made the story feel ‘close to home’. I also enjoyed the occasional references to how the rest of Britain was doing (not well). However, what I loved most was Willo and his ‘voice’. He has a distinctive voice like Todd in Chaos Walking and Saba in Blood Red Road: engaging, colourful, and a delight to read. He’s the readers’ entry into frozen Britain and he reiterates the thoughts of his family before they were taken, and in the present shows us what’s going on around him. Although this is a fictional story, references to climate change make the reader aware that After the Snow is a very real possibility.
After the Snow is truthful depiction of a young boy’s will to survive in a now inhabitable world.
Thank you Macmillan Children’s Books for providing this book for review!