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After the snow
2012
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Summary

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.

S.D. Crockett on narrative voice and an especially cold winter:

What was your inspiration for After the Snow ?
Well, apart from the unbelievably cold winter during which I was writing--in an unheated house, chopping logs and digging my car out of the snow; I think much of the inspiration for the settings in After the Snow came from my various travels.

In my twenties I worked as a timber buyer in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, and that work led to travels in Eastern Europe and Armenia. As soon as I step off the plane in those places it smells like home.

It may sound strange to say, when After the Snow is set in Wales, but really the practical dilemmas in the book come directly from places I've been, people I've lived with, and the hardships I've seen endured with grace and capability. I was in Russia not long after the Soviet Union collapsed and I've seen society in freefall. Without realizing it at the time I think those experiences led me to dive into After the Snow with real passion.

What would western civilization look like with a few tumbles under its belt? What would happen if the things we took for granted disappeared? I wanted to write a gripping story about that scenario, but hardly felt that I was straying into fantasy in the detail.

What do you want readers to most remember about After the Snow ?
We all have the capacity to survive, but in what manner? What do we turn to in those times of trouble? Those are the questions I would like people to contemplate after reading After the Snow .

How did Willo's unique voice come to you?
Willo's voice appeared in those crucial first few paragraphs. After that it just grew along with his world and the terrible situations that arise. I think his voice is in all of us. We don't understand, we try to make good--maybe we find ourselves.

How did you stay warm while writing this novel?
I banked up the fire--and was warmed by hopes of spring.

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
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.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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