The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter is a young adult novel that deals with some heavy issues.
The first chapter begins with the main character, 17 year old Lainey, finding out that her mother committed suicide. Due to the fact that they had a troubled mother-daughter relationship, Lainey has a lot of trouble dealing with her emotions.
It’s fairly obvious that she is affected by the death, especially when she recalls good times they had together, but more often than not, she dwells on the negative memories. Perhaps she does this in order to keep the pain at bay.
Lainey practically thinks of herself as orphaned, because she has no relationship with her father either. He and Lainey’s mother split up when she was young and he failed to be there for her as she was growing up. While she’s trying to deal with her whirlwind of emotions, she also has to take partial responsibility for her adopted brother and the sudden appearance of her older sister with whom she has absolutely no relationship.
Lainey also begins to question her relationship with long-term boyfriend Riley. There are plenty of ups and downs throughout the story as she tries to adjust to this new life and find herself again.
When I first started reading this book, I just remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine a loss like that. I also had trouble relating to Lainey initially because my mom and I were so incredibly close and Lainey didn’t seem particularly upset that her mom was gone.
Then my own life came crashing down when my mom unexpectedly passed away last month. It was hard getting back into this book, since it only served to remind me that my own mom, my best friend, was truly gone. As the book progressed, I found that I was able to relate with Lainey better. Even though she had a different relationship with her mom than I did with mine, she still experienced emotions that I have went through myself.
I think all readers will be able to relate with Lainey on some level, whether it be having a major life change or making an extremely tough decision.
I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. It just seemed to suck me into the story and I had a lot of trouble putting it down. Her descriptions of the characters, places, and memories were just right. Too much description can be tedious; not enough can leave the reader confused or uninterested. I feel like the author found a good middle ground, which left me feeling very satisfied when I finished the book.
This book was not entirely heavy. Although it did include some very serious issues and situations, there were also some humorous moments thrown in to balance it out. I appreciate a book that breaks up the seriousness a bit. I also appreciate that throughout the course of the book, Lainey grows as a person, and as readers we are able to experience her journey.
I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to experience The Snowball Effect.
The Snowball Effect
Author: Holly Nicole Hoxter
Publication Date: 3/23/2010
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
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