Willow is scrappy, stealthy, and smart Ė and thatís a good thing. His world is in a not too distant future where the Earth is experiencing a new Ice Age. For most of the year the world is blanketed in ice and snow. Just like early humans in the previous Ice Age they must live off of primarily animals while there is snow on the ground, so hunting is a way of life now for anyone not living within the city limits. This is exactly where Willow and his family live; essentially off the grid and under the radar of the oppressive government that is now in charge of the United Kingdom.
Willow comes home from a hunt to find his cabin ransacked and empty. There is no one in sight, no one to answer his calls into the woods, and no note left behind. Their coats and belongings were all still there as if they left, or were taken, in a rush. They always knew it was dangerous to live outside the city. They werenít supposed to but they hadnít been hurting anyone out here.
Where are they? Who did this? What is he going to do on his own? Before he can think, he hears someone coming back to the cabin. All he can do is run, and hope to find his people when he can.
On his own he can move fast and undetected but then he meets Mary. She is in a similar situation as him, and all alone. Mary isnít a hunter, isnít stealthy, and has a lot to learn about the world.
Will she slow him down?
Can they find their people?
Can Willow and Mary make it through a world where most people have lost their human decency? There are the government, trappers, hunters, cannibals, and a whole host of people only looking out for themselves.
Will the two even survive the winter?
This is a great book for teens that are fans of survivalism and post-apocalyptic stories but with a new twist; itís no disease or world war causing this breakdown of society but climate change. You can almost feel the cold by the way in which S.D. Crockett goes into detail about the crunching of snow beneath feet, breath hanging thick in the air, the numbness one can get when subjected to too much cold for too long, and the urgency of being alone of the run.
After the Snow is much more realistic than some teenagers may have read before Ė it is no Hunger Games or The Uglies. Though different, it is no less of a gem of older teen post-apocalyptic fiction.
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