The Compulsive Reader: The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Lainey Pike can describe her family by telling you how her family members have died. Her mother, for example, was a depressed and discouraged life coach who committed suicide just days after her high school graduation. Now left with her special needs brother, Collin, and Vallery, her stranger of an older sister and Collin's new guardian, Lainey has to sort out her feelings for everyone that's left in her life: her friends, her boyfriend Riley, and the strangely compelling guy she keeps running into. As Lainey deals with the aftereffects of her mother's death, she slowly makes peace with her life, childhood, and most importantly, her mother.

The Snowball Effect is a book that stands apart, in more ways than one. Set after Lainey's high school graduation, she feels her future and its possibilities and expectations stretching out before her, and suffers from the conflicting feelings of wanting to be independent and on her own, and her responsibility to her family and Collin. This plays into her anger, denial, and hurt over her mother's suicide, and Lainey's struggle to understand her mother, who is portrayed as distant and flighty, is well drawn out and thoroughly examined. The blue-collar setting is different, but welcome: Lainey is quite blunt about her family's financial situation, from their lack of money, her dead-end mall job, and the fact that many of her friends don't attend college. This well-written and thoughtful book, which reminded me of Peter Hedges’ What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, is honest and riddled with smart metaphors that will really resonate with readers. Holly Nicole Hoxter is an author to watch!

Cover Comments: I loathe this cover! The girl on the cover looks awkward, and nothing like Lainey at all, and the whole concept of the stacked cups just doesn't really fit the book. I hope this one goes through a cover makeover when it comes out in paperback.

ARC received from publisher.

1 comment:

Krista/Tower of Books said...

I could probably relate the whole college thing, but so this seems like something I should read.