________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 5. . . .October 1, 2010

cover

The Snowball Effect. (Orca Currents).

Deb Loughead.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2010.
116 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55469-370-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55469-371-9 (hc.).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Emily Sobool.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.

   

excerpt:

"You're such a sweet kid, Dylan," she said, ruffling my hair.

Yeah, real sweet, I thought. If only she knew the truth. I felt rotten to the core about the trail of lies I'd left behind me all evening. Like a snowball rolling downhill, my lie kept growing bigger and bigger. I wondered where it would stop.

When 15-year-old Dylan and his friends' game of snow bombing cars causes an accident, he is the only one who doesn't panic and flee the scene. He checks on the driver to make sure she is okay and attempts to comfort her until help arrives. He is not able to slip away anonymously, and soon the town is buzzing with the story of Dylan's heroic act. As the local newspaper reporters clamor to interview him, and the Boy Scouts insist that his family take a free Christmas tree, Dylan struggles with intense guilt over his involvement with the accident. Each lie that he tells about the accident leads to another, and soon they are growing unmanageable, snowballing out of control.

      The Snowball Effect is a fast-paced story that will resonate with young readers because of its relevant themes. Dylan's guilty conscience and fear of exposure heighten the story's drama. The novel is not without its flaws, however. Certain aspects of the book were unrealistic, such as the fervor of admiration that sweeps through the town for Dylan's relatively simple actions at the scene of the accident. Also, the ending of the story is predictable, and almost too easy, with the story arc's fast and full resolution slipping into conventional "after school special" territory. Nevertheless, the book will likely appeal to readers in its target age range due to its brisk pace, likable characters, and clarity of themes and metaphors. Reluctant readers will appreciate the captivating plot, and the short, low-vocab design of the novel ensures it will be accessible to those reading below grade level.

      Toronto writer Deb Loughead has written 16 books for children and young adults. The Snowball Effect is her second book to be published in the "Orca Currents" series after 2009's Struck!

Recommended.

Emily Sobool is a librarian in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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